Excellent weather attracts boaties

19:26, Dec 26 2012

Boaties making the most of southern weather have been flocking to Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes but harbourmasters are warning those using the water to take more care.

Lifejackets must be worn on Lake Wakatipu and Lake Wanaka but are not compulsory on Lake Dunstan.

Queenstown Lakes District Council harbourmaster Marty Black yesterday said warnings were issued to people who were not using common sense on the water.

Several boats were towed back to shore after leaving unprepared and jet skis driven by youngsters who did not know the rules were causing some concern.

On Christmas Day in Wanaka, kite surfers were also going through the water beside swimmers. "That's extremely dangerous," he said.

Kite surfers could travel at high speed and boards were classed as vessels so they needed to keep clear of swimmers.

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Lake Dunstan harbourmaster Shayne Hitchcock, of Alexandra, said it was the best leadup to Christmas in several years given the number of people out on the water.

"With the weekend falling before Christmas we've struck a lot of locals able to go out."

Lake conditions were perfect and the temperature was sitting about 18 degrees Celsius in most parts.

"It's the best conditions, beautiful clear water all over which hasn't been happening for a long time."

He reminded boaties in the water near Old Cromwell to be aware of yellow buoys to mark the keep-right line.

Fine weather in the next few days meant the lakes were expected to be busy at New Year.

The Southland Times