Editorial: You'll know who to blame

Last updated 05:00 12/01/2013

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We complain, don't we, about how many rules we have in this country.

That we are over-regulated.

But sometimes, honestly, we have only ourselves to blame.

Boaties on our lakes received a bit of a wind-up over the holidays.

Environment Canterbury, with the backing of police, upped the ante on safety. And courtesy.

The aim wasn't to hand out tickets, but to make people aware of their responsibilities.

Which highlights two surprising things.

One, that people need reminding.

And two, that the law isn't stronger around water safety.

When it is so prescriptive elsewhere.

You need a traffic management plan to run a Christmas parade and a harness if you are working two metres up on a worksite, but there's nothing to stop you loading up the boat with booze and kids and heading out for the day.

ECan announced it was going to increase its presence. Talk around the campsites would have made it obvious.

But still, more than 100 people were found to not be wearing or carrying life-jackets, when wearing them is compulsory on small boats.

What's with that? Presumably those in the boats were family or friends.

Also, there's no warrant of fitness for boats.

There's no licence for boat drivers.

Not yet, anyway.

The water is a dangerous thing. And it's our lack of appreciation of that danger that leads to too many drownings each year.

Some of these are genuine accidents. Most are not.

New Zealand's record on the water is shocking, the third worst in the world. Last year 90 people drowned.

Plainly then we need rescuing from ourselves, which is what ECan has started doing.

To a mixed reception, I'd bet.

Many boaties are responsible, and don't need educating.

Some think they are, and do need educating, but wouldn't take kindly to it.

And some are idiots.

Perhaps more than some by the look of things.

So when boating does becomes more regulated, you'll know who to blame.

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- The Timaru Herald

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