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Stay safe on the water this summer
Wednesday 18 January 2012, 4:48PM
By Northland Regional Council


<p>With the summer sunshine finally arriving and the busy boating season upon us, Northland&rsquo;s Deputy Harbourmaster is reminding people of local rules for keeping our waters safe.</p> <p>&ldquo;Summer is a fantastic time to get out on the water in Northland, but with so many of us boating, swimming, diving, waterskiing, surfing and so on, there&rsquo;s also more chance of something going wrong,&rdquo; Chidambaram Surendran says.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;By sticking to a few golden rules, boaties and other water users can minimise the risks to themselves and others, so everyone can get out there and enjoy what Northland has to offer more safely.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mr Surendran says local rules for using the region&rsquo;s waters safely are set out in the Northland Regional Council&rsquo;s Navigation Safety Bylaw, however, the same safety-related issues tend to come up time and time again. <br /> <br /> &ldquo;Speed can be a real hazard out on the water, which is why we have the 5-knot rule. Remember, keep your speed below 5 knots (walking pace) when your boat is within 200 metres of shore or a structure, 200 metres of a boat flying a dive flag or 50 metres of another boat or person in the water.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;There also needs to be a lifejacket for every person on board, and if there&rsquo;s any doubt, wear it &ndash; it may be too late to put it on once an emergency happens.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mr Surendran says a skipper is ultimately responsible for the safety of the boat, the people on it, and other water users.<br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Mr Surendran says environmental safety around fuel spills and sewage disposal is another consideration for boaties.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Make sure a responsible person supervises any refuelling operation and keep absorbent material handy to clean up any spill immediately.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> &ldquo;Mop up any oil substances from the bilge water before pumping your bilge; dispose of any waste ashore and if you are responsible for a spill (or notice one) contact us immediately on our 24/7 Environmental Hotline 0800 504 639.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Mr Surendran says among the other top tips for staying safe on the water are:</p> <ul> <li> Check the marine forecast. If in doubt, don&rsquo;t go out and remember to always take &ndash; and preferably wear - lifejackets</li> <li> Display a dive flag if you have divers in the water</li> <li> Keep a good lookout at all times and know the marine &lsquo;rules of the road&rsquo;, including when to give way to other vessels</li> <li> Stick to the 5-knot rule, unless in a designated high-speed area.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>He says more information about maritime matters, including safe use of Northland&rsquo;s coastal areas, can be found on the regional council&rsquo;s website via: <a href=""></a></p> INDEX