Press Releases

Boat Safety - Zero Tolerance

12 December 2007

A campaign of zero tolerance should be expected by boaties in the Queenstown Lakes District this summer, QLDC harbourmaster Marty Black said.

It was of concern that with the prospect of a long hot summer on the cards, Mr Black and his team had already struck some alarming signs of complacency in terms of boat safety. "With the good weather the lakes and rivers will get high use and it is absolutely critical that people play and stay safe," Mr Black said.

A number of people over the past few weeks had been found to have either none or not enough life jackets for all on board. "They seem to be totally ignorant with regards to the basic rules, like no water skiing in Queenstown Bay or simple things like the use of ski lanes," Mr Black said.

"The point we need to get across is zero tolerance on a lack of lifejackets. There must be enough lifejackets on board for every person and children must wear jackets at all times. If there is not total compliance with this rule then you won't get a warning you will get a ticket and it will cost," Mr Black said.

The harbourmaster and the deputy harbourmaster and a team of wardens would be on duty throughout the holiday season on all lakes.

"We'd rather issue seasons greetings than tickets but with heavy water traffic there is no room for error. Our aim is for everyone to have a great time and go home safely," Mr Black said.

The total number of possible breaches under the council's Waterways, Navigation and Safety Bylaw is 59 including: a person under 15 years of age being in control of a powered vessel; navigating a craft under the influence of alcohol; failing to carry sufficient lifejackets; failing to ensure all children are wearing a lifejacket; failing to tow a person without a lookout; dangerous use of a craft; swimming in towing lanes; towing outside of designated lanes; rules around the use of moorings; rules around commercial rafting; commercial boat trips; and the use of flotation devices.

The infringement fee prescribed for all breaches is $500.

The popular Lake Hayes pontoon has been damaged, possibly through overcrowding, and has been removed for repair, Queenstown Lakes District harbour master Marty Black said.

"It looks like the pontoon has been damaged by the sheer number of people on it. The result is a split weld, which in turn led to a damaged float," Mr Black said.

The pontoon had nearly sunk completely when it was retrieved and dragged onto the shore, he said.

"It's disappointing that at this time of year the pontoon has been damaged. It has been removed for repair but it?s unlikely we will get it back in place before Christmas, " Mr Black said.

ENDS

For further information please contact Marty Black  0274 345 289