The owner of an unoccupied dinghy found floating off Gisborne
yesterday, sparking a major search operation, is safe and
Police said the man and others on board had abandoned the
vessel and swum to shore after it started taking on water but
they did not notify authorities.
A passing pleasure boat spotted the abandoned boat, which had
diving gear and a bag of kina on board, about 1.6 nautical
miles out to sea near Tuahine Point yesterday afternoon.
Emergency services were alerted and began a search involving
other boaties, police and the Coastguard.
Police urged boaties to notify authorities if they abandoned
their vessels to avoid expensive and lengthy search
"Several people donated their time and their boats to look
for any possible survivors. This was a major operation that
cost time and money. It was avoidable and unnecessary," said
Sergeant Greg Lexmond.
"The other issue is that any boats left drifting at sea could
be a hazard for other marine craft or ships in the area. Boat
owners and users should contact emergency services
immediately when they abandon any type of vessel at sea."
The boat's owner was a forestry worker and could not be
contacted because he was now in the bush.
Police would be speaking with him when he returned home.