People holidaying in the Waitaki Lakes region will see a combined effort this festive season on water safety.
New Zealand Police and Environment Canterbury’s boating safety officers are joining forces to educate those in, on and around the lakes about water safety.
Six local Police officers have been given additional powers as temporary honorary enforcement officers. Environment Canterbury’s Recreational Boating Officer, Evan Walker, says the boost in numbers in the area will provide added support to our Boating Safety Team. "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.”
Mr Walker says “Oamaru Police proposed the idea after local police officers attended a serious boating incident in January 2012. The six Police staff have been briefed on the rules and boating safety issues in the lakes and they will actively work on education, advice and enforcement around both the bylaws and maritime rules.”
Mr Walker says this is the first time since he has been working at Environment Canterbury that a combined approach has been taken. “It makes real sense and anything that helps us get the water safety messages out to keep people safe on the water is a good thing.”
"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 safer," says Oamaru Police Detective Warren Duncan, who is one of the temporary honorary enforcement officers.
Mr Walker says the most important thing this summer to enjoy fun safe boating is to download a free copy of the local bylaws (http://ecan.govt.nz/publications/General/navigation-safety-bylaws-2010.pdf) and be aware of the rules of the lakes. Furthermore check your boat, wear right-fitting lifejackets and take heed of water safety messages to check the weather, tell someone where you are going, designate a skipper and have suitable communication means on board.
The Police Honorary Enforcement Officers will assist Environment Canterbury volunteers from Boxing Day through to 4 January 2013.