Boating safety on Lake Benmore, and the other Waitaki
lakes, will be a priority this summer as extra staff are
drafted in by Environment Canterbury to assist as
enforcement officers. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.
Extra enforcement officers will be patrolling the shores
around the Waitaki Lakes during the holiday period to ensure
there is no repeat of accidents like the one in January that
left three members of a Christchurch family hospitalised
following a boat collision on Lake Middleton.
To ensure a better safety standard, Environment Canterbury
boating safety officers will be joined by six Waitaki-based
police officers, who will be given temporary powers as
enforcement officers, to educate people about boat safety.
ECan recreational boating officer Evan Walker said the boost
in numbers in the area would provide added support to the
boating safety team.
The six police officers had been briefed on the rules and
boating safety issues in the lakes and they would actively
work on education, advice and enforcement around both local
bylaws and maritime rules, he said.
''The Waitaki Lakes is a very popular holiday destination
with an influx of people over the Christmas period, so six
extra staff to support our water safety messages will be of
benefit to those using the lakes over the summer period.''
He said the combined approach ''made real sense''.
Detective Warren Duncan, of Oamaru, said the most important
thing for people to do was to ''enjoy fun, safe boating'' on
the area's lakes.
''Police have a focus on encouraging water safety and
preventing community harm during the holiday. This is another
way that we can achieve the goal of making the community
Det Duncan advised boat users to download a free copy of the
local bylaws from the ECan website to help avoid incidents
like the one on Lake Middleton.
On that occasion, a crash was caused when one boat failed to
adhere to the lake's one-way (anti-clockwise) policy.
The police honorary enforcement officers will assist ECan
volunteers from Boxing Day to January 4.