Queenstown Lakes harbourmaster Marty Black (left) with
Jessica Forrest (16), of Invercargill and water patroller
Louie Adamson (right) on Lake Wakatipu yesterday.
Patrollers will be out in force this summer, issuing
instant fines to anyone not wearing a life jacket in a boat
of less than 6m. Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Patrols will be out in force in Queenstown and Wanaka
during the busy summer period, ensuring recreational lake users
are adhering to the rules.
Harbourmaster Marty Black said two jet skis would be based in
Wanaka, along with a motorbike and a jet ski at Glendhu Bay
and two jet skis and a waterways patrol boat on Lake
Wakatipu, enforcing the Queenstown Lakes District Council
bylaw that requires anyone in a boat less than 6m in length
to wear a life jacket at all times.
''We know that properly fitting life jackets save lives on
the water, in the same way that seat belts save lives on the
roads,'' Mr Black said.
It was imperative children wore life jackets that fitted them
properly to avoid tragedies.
''You can't put a small child in an adult's life jacket -
they will just slip straight out, and we've seen some recent
tragedies in other parts of the country where that has
happened,'' Mr Black said.
Further, anyone borrowing kayaks and dinghies from friends or
using gear loaned by their accommodation providers should
remember to collect life jackets along with the paddles and
Mr Black urged parents to be particularly vigilant if small
children were playing by rivers.
''My goal is that everyone has a fantastic time in and around
the water this summer, and the best way to make that happen
is to use common sense, keep an eye on your kids, and always
wear life jackets when you're out on the water.''
Anyone caught breaching the bylaw would be issued with
Last month, Mr Black dealt with two kayakers in separate
incidents on Lake Wakatipu, neither of whom were wearing life
Just five days later, four people on the Clutha River in
inflatable dinghies were pulled off the water after being
spotted by an Albert Town resident.
The three women and a man were summonsed off the river. None
had a life jacket on and all said they were unaware that they
should have worn life jackets.
Each received a $300 fine.
Mr Black also encouraged people to check conditions before
launching into rivers in the area, with logs and other debris
washing downstream following heavy rain.
Last weekend, a group of kayakers had a ''near miss'' on the
Hawea River where an eroding stretch of bank ''effectively
left a tree strainer in mid-stream'', about 4km downstream of
the Camphill Road bridge.
Contact Energy reduced the river flow to about 10 cumecs and
removed two trees from the river, also underwriting the cost
of the operation.
Mr Black said although that stretch of river no longer
contained a hazard to kayakers and other river users,
everyone using rivers in the Queenstown Lakes District should
be mindful of the risk posed by submerged or partly submerged
obstacles, including trees.
In the Shotover River, a large willow tree about 500m
downstream of Tucker Beach was also a potential trap for
anyone floating in a tube or raft, he said.
''Even if you're using a stretch of river that you're
familiar with, please keep a good look out for trees, logs
and other debris,'' Mr Black said.
''Rivers are very dynamic and can change from day to day as
the level rises and falls,'' he said.