Otago Southland coroner David Crerar has recommended Maritime New Zealand make the wearing of lifejackets compulsory after a Wanaka boatie drowned.
Trevor Lloyd Hawke, 70, died on November 17 last year after he fell off his Etchell boat and was unable to inflate his lifejacket, which he was wearing inside out, near Eely Pt on Lake Wanaka.
He was last seen going under water by his sailing companion, Mark Sheehan, who had attempted to save him by tacking around him several times before raising the alarm with other sailors nearby.
Mr Hawke's body was pulled from 47 metres below the water 10 days later.
Mr Crerar said members of the Wanaka Yacht Club said Mr Sheehan had done a very good job of controlling the Etchell in difficult conditions, and Mr Hawke's decision to go yachting appeared to be appropriate at the time.
A green clip on the jacket, which serves as an indicator to the wearer that a CO2 cylinder that inflated the jacket had been fired, was missing, and it appeared the lifejacket had previously been deployed.
"From a search management perspective there were sufficient vessels deployed to the right place in a timely manner to properly effect a search.
"There was little more that could have been done to rescue Trevor Hawke as the only opportunity for rescue existed in the few minutes that he was in the water before he subsequently disappeared."
Mr Hawke was careful and technically-minded and the exact reason why an inflation canister was unattached had be left open, Mr Crerar said.
At the Coroner's Court hearing earlier this year, Maritime New Zealand safety inspector James Lilley, of Christchurch, said after Mr Hawke's death he had examined the lifejacket and found it had been deployed, but not inflated, before November 17.
Mr Hawke had also been wearing the lifejacket inside-out, which may have made operating it difficult, even if it had been ready to operate, he said.
Mr Hawke's wife, Maureen, said that her husband often wore the lifejacket inside out as it was more comfortable to have the cylinder on the opposite shoulder.
Mr Hawke had been a sailing instructor and was a life member of the Wanaka Yacht Club, with more than 40 years' involvement in sailing.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Your club information portal, post or view your sports fixtures, results and general information.
Check out what's on in your community or post an upcoming event.
Subscribe to a digital replica of The Southland Times.
Southland Times subscriber news and information.
Click here for information about advertising with The Southland Times.
Buy copies of photos featured in The Southland Times.