11 Jul 2013

Call for lifejackets to be mandatory

8:50 pm on 11 July 2013

Water Safety New Zealand says a proposal to make lifejackets compulsory in Auckland should become a national law.

The Auckland Council is reviewing its lifejacket regulations and is considering making them compulsory at all times in boats under six metres long.

Water Safety New Zealand says of the 215 people who drowned after falling out of their boat in the past 20 years, 178 were not wearing a lifejacket.

Chief executive Matt Claridge said 49% of those killed were on boats less than four metres long.

Mr Claridge said the Government should consider making it compulsory to wear lifejackets throughout the country and education about water safety should also be a priority.

An Auckland Coastguard volunteer supports the move, saying New Zealand is still catching up when it comes to water safety.

Chris Laufale attended a fatal boat accident near the Mangere Bridge last year where a man and his seven-year-old son drowned. He is surprised wearing a lifejacket isn't compulsory and believes it's about time the law change was considered.

Public consultation on the proposed new bylaw in Auckland won't take place until mid-2014.