Extra funding to build a ‘safer boating culture’

File Image/SunLive.

Martime NZ hopes $844,249 in funding for safer boating initiatives throughout New Zealand will help reduce recreational boating fatalities and injuries.

Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch says Maritime NZ is thrilled to be able to provide this funding.

The grants provide crucial funding for organisations involved at the grass-roots building safer boating culture across New Zealand communities, he says.

“It’s an investment – teach someone to boat safely and you’re protecting their family and friends too.”

Included are some innovative approaches to promoting safety on the water including jetski training for people in the upper South Island, greater engagement with boaties through the Old4New lifejacket upgrade campaign and expansion of community ‘lifejacket hubs’, where people can loan a lifejacket for a gold coin donation.

Keith says a collaborative approach is being taken with $80,000 allocated to the on-water No Excuses campaign with 18 councils participating.

The campaign sees Maritime NZ and harbourmasters interacting with boaties to promote lifejacket wearing and safe speed.

He says the grants are a significant part of the wider safer boating campaign.

Other aspects of the increased investment include a greater on-water presence and support for the collaborative work Maritime NZ is doing as part of the Safer Boating Forum.

The forum is made up of 24 member organisations with an interest in reducing injuries and fatalities on the water.

Thanks to the grant funding, there are many opportunities for boaties to take their skills to the next level, including community training programmes through Coastguard New Zealand, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, NZ Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Nelson City Council, Waka Ama, Sport Bay of Plenty, Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers and Yachting NZ.

The grants provide continued support for boating education for Pasifika communities through Coastguard Boating Education’s ground-breaking Folau Malu programme, which has seen community members complete a Coastguard NZ day skipper course.

The course continues to go from strength to strength with huge demand.
Coastguard NZ’s Old4New – the campaign to replace unsafe old lifejacket with new ones – is now in its seventh year and bigger than ever.

This year will see an extra van on the road, with one crew in the North Island and one in the South offering heavily discounted lifejackets to those who upgrade their old or damaged lifejackets.

To date, the programme has removed over 15,000 lifejackets from circulation in New Zealand communities.

These jackets have been replaced with by brand new, fit for-purpose Hutchwilco lifejackets sold at a discounted price.

The vans will also be on the road over the four-week school holiday period between mid-December and mid-January, visiting more locations.

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