Community calling for compulsory lifejackets

Wednesday 24 July 2013, 12:02PM
By WaterSafe Auckland


An Auckland regional bylaw requiring lifejackets to be worn in small boats will be in place by summer if Tunumafono Ava Fa’amoe has his way. 

Concerned at the continued and needless loss of life on our waters, Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Member Fa’amoe is advocating for a local bylaw change in an effort to prevent further drownings, a move supported by WaterSafe Auckland.   

This follows a number of tragic incidents involving small boats , where for a variety of reasons the persons found themselves in the water, but weren’t wearing lifejackets and drowned.

Auckland Council is currently reviewing all navigational bylaws but Member Fa’amoe hopes that this proposed ‘stronger’ bylaw  will stand alone [separate from the wider review] due to its urgency and that some mechanism will be in place by summer.

“We believe that this also creates greater awareness of the bylaw with opportunities for education around lifejacket use,” he says.

“The current bylaw only requires lifejackets to be carried but worn at times of risk or when the skipper says so, but many of these drownings could have been avoided if persons going out in small boats actually wore them.”

WaterSafe Auckland CEO Sandy Harrop says these incidents often occur quickly, without warning, leaving little or no opportunity to grab a lifejacket, let alone put it on. To give you any chance of survival you need to be wearing it.

“We applaud Otara-Papatoetoe and Mangere-Otahuhu Local Boards in stepping up their region-wide advocacy on this matter and are heartened by the support received from 18 of Auckland’s 21 Local Boards,” says Sandy.

In an effort to move forward all interested parties are invited to a fono, at 10am, Thursday 25 July, in the Puhinui Room, Manukau Civic Building, 31 Manukau Station Road.

For more information / interviews contact: 

Sandy Harrop 
CEO WaterSafe Auckland
Ph 027 271 5781

Tunumafono Ava Fa'amoe 
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Member 
Ph 027 680 7973