16 May 2011

Queenstown jetboat company fined $35,000

7:18 pm on 16 May 2011

A Queenstown jetboat company has been fined $35,000 for breaches of maritime safety rules.

In the Queenstown District Court on Monday, Kawerau Jet pleaded guilty to two charges of operating a vessel in a manner causing unnecessary danger to those on board and one charge of failing to report an incident to Maritime New Zealand.

The charges related to a series of events on 18 December 2009 when Kawerau Jet operated two trips on Lake Wakatipu in extreme weather conditions.

On the first trip, 17 passengers including five children were on a boat swamped by a large wave, soaking the occupants and incapacitating an engine.

Despite this incident, Kawarau Jet proceeded with a second trip which was completed without problems.

Maritime New Zealand says although no one was hurt on the trips, the decision to go out on the lake in spite of the conditions potentially put lives at risk.