Coastguard to Measure Kiwi Boaties’ Attitude to Water Safety

Press Release – Coastguard

If you are launching your boat over the next few weeks, don’t be alarmed if you’re approached by Coastguard volunteers! All recreational boaties are going to be asked to take part in the Maritime New Zealand annual Boat Ramp Survey.12 January 2011

Coastguard to Help Measure Kiwi Boaties’ Attitudes to Water Safety

If you are launching your boat over the next few weeks, don’t be alarmed if you’re approached by Coastguard volunteers! All recreational boaties are going to be asked to take part in the Maritime New Zealand annual Boat Ramp Survey.

The results of the survey will help determine future strategies aimed at keeping New Zealanders safe at sea.

The survey, which is a joint effort coordinated by Maritime New Zealand with support from regional councils and Coastguard, will be conducted over the busy boating months of January and early February. The results are critical in measuring the effectiveness of the Boating Safety Strategy developed by Pleasure Boat Safety Forum, a group created to help reduce boating fatalities.

Coastguard President Colin Small says this year’s survey results are particularly important because it has been six years since the organisation adopted the Boating Safety Strategy.

“The results of the Boat Ramp Survey will help Coastguard in determining the direction we need to be taking to keep the number of boating incidents down.

“There has been a vast improvement in safe boating behaviour and the use of safety equipment and communications devices by pleasure boaties but there still seems to be a knowledge gap for many heading out on the water.”

Over the last 12 months Coastguard New Zealand has responded to 3300 calls for assistance, many of which could have been prevented with more preparation and planning from skippers.

“Last year’s survey showed a 10 percent decrease in the number boaties checking the weather and marine forecasts before heading onto the water which should be one of the first things they do before taking the boat out. This signals to us the urgent need for a more targeted approach toward preparation and planning.”

The polarising topic of compulsory licensing and registration, which is discussed on an annual basis, is also high on the list for Coastguard to review once the results of the survey are calculated.

“Though Coastguard regularly reviews its position on this matter and has continued to support ‘willing compliance’ in an effort to keep boaties safe, the concerning trend in boating fatalities over the last three years shows it is timely for us to review our stance on this,” says Small.

Some of Coastguard’s 2,500 volunteers will be swapping their outboards and PFD’s for clipboards and pens as they help conduct the survey which will not only measure the effectiveness of safety messaging, but also gauge the general feeling of boaties on subjects including compulsory licensing, safety and preparation.

While the survey is voluntary, those participating will go in the draw to win a number of prizes including ICOM VHF Radios, Hutchwilco life jackets, Coastguard education courses and more as a token of thanks for their time.

For more information on this year’s Boat Ramp Survey as well as tips to keep safe on the water this summer, visit www.coastguard.co.nz

About Coastguard New Zealand

Coastguard is the charity that provides New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service. The organisation operates from a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand. Coastguard New Zealand is a volunteer organisation with a charitable status. It has more than 18,000 supporter members and 2,224 active Professional Volunteers who provide around 350,000 hours of their time each year to educate, protect and help save lives at sea. Coastguard performs over 3,000 rescues each year assisting almost 7,000 New Zealanders. There are currently 72 dedicated rescue vessels in Coastguard New Zealand’s fleet, 10 air patrol units and one dedicated communications unit. All crew members on board Coastguard vessels and air patrol craft are trained search and rescue personnel working to enhance the safety of all New Zealanders when they participate in boating and water activities.

ENDS

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