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Think safety before getting in, around or on the water


thumbnail 08 Morning kayakers-8Coastguard New Zealand is asking boaties around the country to be prepared before they go out on the water now that lockdown restrictions on boating have been eased, and is expecting unseasonably high boating activity as a result.

Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie says go through that safety checklist before heading out, especially with water craft sitting idle for so long over the lockdown period.

“With many boats having spent weeks parked up in driveways and stationary in marina’s, it pays to check your engines and replace old fuel with clean, fresh fuel.

“Don’t forget to charge your batteries either. The AA had a record day of callouts after the lockdown, with 80 percent of those callouts for flat batteries that hadn’t been started for five weeks. The same can happen to your boat battery.”

Amongst all the excitement and anticipation of a return to their favourite playground, safety still needs to be top of mind for all boaties says Mr Gillespie.

“A lifejacket never ruined a day on the water so make sure you take them and wear them. Have two forms of waterproof communication with you and keep an eye on the local marine weather. You can do this quickly and easily on the free Coastguard app.”

Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) is also urging boaties, recreational fishers and divers to follow safety guidelines as lockdown restrictions ease.

“It’s also critical that whatever the water based activity that people check the weather forecast,” says WSNZ CEO Jonty Mills. “Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.”

Rock fishers are also reminded to think about safety, wear lifejackets, assess the conditions and not take unnecessary risks.

If there is even a remote possibility you could end up in the water ensure you know water survival skills says Mills. Wear a lifejacket as well as clothing that gives you thermal protection.

Scuba divers and Free divers will also be looking forward to an opportunity to get back into the water. They should also carry out equipment checks, assess the conditions and stay within their limits.

“Always dive with a buddy and follow correct protocols such as employing a one-up one-down system,” says Mills.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguards are no longer on patrol, so beaches with big swells, strong currents and rips should be avoided. If you see someone in trouble in the water dial 111 and ask for the police.

Whatever the water-based activity, remember the water safety code:

· Be prepared
· Watch out for yourself and others
· Be aware of the dangers
· Know your limits

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