Bay boating deaths prompt warnings

Optimist was brought back to Sulphur Point Marina in March.

Out of 19 boating related deaths across the country so far this year, six have been in the Bay of Plenty.

Harbourmaster Peter Buell says it's too many.

Karl Earwaker, a farmer from Te Awamutu, is believed to have died following a boating accident back in March.

"Police believe Mr Earwaker had a tragic accident and for reasons not yet fully known the boat has capsized," police said in a statement released earlier this year.

A 5.6m fibreglass Sea Nymph, named Optimist, was found two nautical miles south of Mayor Island.

Peter believes many boating accidents can be avoided.

“Unfortunately a lot of these deaths have been preventable. Whether you have a kayak, Jetski, waka, sail or power boat, you must know the rules, have the right equipment, and be a responsible skipper.”

The Regional Council will have six to eight patrols on the water every day over the holiday period. No lifejackets and unsafe speed are two of the biggest risks of death and injury and the patrols help ensure boaties take this risk seriously.

When it comes to bar crossings boaties are also being reminded that this is one of the most dangerous things they will ever do on a boat.

"Its a high risk activity for even the most experienced boatie. A lifejacket must be worn when crossing a bar and if in doubt skippers shouldn't go out," says Peter.

To find out how to be safe on the water and read up on this regions rules pick up a copy of Boating in the Bay of Plenty from our Tauranga, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua or Whakatāne office or visit.


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