Campaign spreads water safety message
Sat, 15 Dec 2012 6:24p.m.
By Ingrid Hipkiss
A campaign's been launched to spread the water safety message, particularly to Pacific people.
Four Pacific Islanders have died in boating accidents since May. Now community leaders are joining forces with Maritime New Zealand to increase awareness of water safety.
The Folau Malu or "Journey Safely" Campaign has a life-saving message for recreational boaties.
“There's a lax attitude to it,” says Peseta Sam Lotu-liga, Maungakiekie MP. “They see it as a bit of a hobby – we go out and enjoy the water – but you've also got to respect the water, particularly when conditions are adverse.”
Recreational boatie Seti Tau Alupi brought his boat for a safety check, and he's just finished a skipper's course run by ACC.
“I think it's very important especially for our people, because at the moment lots of them are dying going out fishing.”
Today's launch was just metres from where a father and son drowned in May this year after their dinghy capsized. A two-year-old from the boat was dragged from the water. Last month, two men drowned when their dinghy capsized off Waiheke Island.
“We don't want anybody else to go through what's been happening before,” says Leau Peter Skelton of the Mangere-Otahuhu community board. “There are too many people drowning and the message is still not getting through to our community.”
“It’s pretty straightforward really,” says Maritime New Zealand safety inspector Alistair Thomson. “Make sure you wear a life jacket, make sure you can communicate when you're in trouble, check the weather and no alcohol.”
Sticking to those rules will mean a safer summer for everyone on the water.
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