Family First Media Release 11 July 2013
Family First NZ is supporting the call by the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board for an Auckland Council bylaw making it compulsory for the wearing – not just the carrying – of lifejackets on non-commercial smaller pleasure boats, canoes and dinghies.
“Currently the law only requires the carrying of lifejackets and the wearing of them in situations of ‘heightened risk’. By making them compulsory to wear at all times, coastguard authorities, police and members of the public will be able to be ensure that families are not put at risk by venturing on to the water without this requirement,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“We have seen far too many tragedies of families in boats and even people fishing on dangerous coastline areas such as rocks and the Manukau Harbour.”
“We need to be proactive on this issue rather than shake our heads in despair at yet another tragedy on our waters which could have possibly been prevented by the simple wearing of lifejackets,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“We’ve attempted to get the message through on seatbelts, bike helmets, and child safety carseats. It’s time to also focus that message on lifejackets. The water is too unforgiving not to make this message a priority.”
Family First is asking for Auckland Council to pass the proposed bylaw, and for greater awareness campaigns around popular boating areas.