Port staff push summer safety message

SUSAN STRONGMAN
Last updated 05:00 27/12/2013
Chris Hill
ROBERT CHARLES

Safety first: Chris Hill wearing his lifejacket said the port area was a great, safe place to have a sail.

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Water safety should be top priority for people making a Boxing Day trip to Ngamotu Beach.

Port Taranaki's harbourmaster John Ireland is urging people, particularly boaties, to stay safe while having fun this summer.

"Common sense and courtesy are the basics for avoiding navigation or safety problems and mishaps," he said.

And yesterday's beach-goers appeared to be heeding Mr Ireland's advice.

Photographer Chris Hill enjoyed an afternoon sail with his mother-in-law at Ngamotu Beach.

They both wore lifejackets and said there was courtesy among water users in the area.

"Everyone respects each other and the yacht club patrol boats are good at warning you if there is a ship coming in."

At the eastern end of the beach, Daniel Schwank said people were being sensible and water safe.

"We come here because we think it's the safest beach," he said, as he watched his seven and nine-year-olds playing in an inflatable dinghy.

This summer, to keep the water safe, Port Taranaki harbour wardens and Taranaki Regional Council enforcement officers will be on the lookout for any bad behaviour.

On the naughty list were jetskis going over five knots inside the lee breakwater or too close to shore in other areas, a lack of observers on boats that were towing water skiers, boats not carrying lifejackets, or with under-age operators, people who were swimming, diving or playing near jetties, boat ramps or other dangerous areas, and boats getting too close to ships and other large vessels.

"The port's becoming increasingly busy, especially with the amount of offshore hydrocarbon exploration and development taking place," said Mr Ireland.

"It's also a great place for summer recreation, as long as everyone follows the rules."

The TRC can issue instant fines of up to $150 to people found breaching its bylaws.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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