25 Oct 2014

Police out to enforce new lifejacket law

3:08 pm on 25 October 2014

Police will be out on Auckland's waters this weekend, making sure all boaties know it is now illegal not to wear lifejackets in small boats.

Life jacket hanging on life buoy, Lake Ruataniwha

New boating rules, which require everyone sailing in a small boat in Auckland to wear lifejackets, start this weekend. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The new bylaw requires all people on vessels under six metres in length to wear lifejackets, unless the skipper decides it is safe to remove them.

Senior Sergeant Martin Paget said this means a skipper will be held personally accountable, and could face charges, should something go wrong on the water.

"Boats flip over, they suddenly sink, all sorts of things go wrong, and it happens in seconds. Just like a seatbelt, nobody would dream of actually trying to put a seatbelt on just before they're going to have an accident."

Mr Paget said boaties will face warnings, fines, and even prosecution if they flout the law.

"People need to understand this is not about comfort, this is not about an arbitrary rule that means that they have to wear a lifejacket because some bureaucrat decided it was a good idea. We know that wearing lifejackets will save lives."

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