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Coastguard pleased to see more people wearing lifejackets

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Thursday, 3 January 2019, 11:08AM
One family had just a minute to escape a sinking boat in Queenstown on New Year's Eve. (Photo / Supplied)

Coastguard New Zealand is pleased to see that lifejackets have helped prevent several boat accidents from turning fatal.

Two boats this week, one in Little Barrier and another in Queenstown, took on water and required the passengers to be rescued.

In both cases, those on board were wearing lifejackets that helped save them.

Operations manager Ray Burge told Tim Dower that these are success stories.

He says the father in the Queenstown incident, where the boat went down in around a minute, raved about how wearing the lifejackets saved them.

“And if they hadn’t had lifejackets on, I don’t think they would have had time to find them and put them on.”

Burge says that if they aren’t worn, they are often somewhere inconvenient when it comes to an emergency.

“A couple of years ago, there were a couple of guys fishing in a small dinghy in the Hauraki Gulf and they weren’t wearing lifejackets.

“We asked them where they were, they went to get them and one of the clips got caught on the seat. If the boat had turned over, they wouldn’t have had time to get them.”

National wants it to be compulsory for anyone under 15 to wear lifejackets.

Burge does not dismiss the idea, but told Tim Dower he’d rather see a consistent approach from councils around lifejacket laws.

“There’s probably eight or 10 regional councils that have different bylaws around when you can and can’t wear a lifejacket.”

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