Harbourmaster’s Note

Each year, we check in with the Marlborough District Council’s harbours office, with a view of getting their outlook on the up-coming summer boating season. Marlborough Sounds Marinas would like to thank the Harbourmaster Luke Grogan and maritime officers for their assistance in the Sounds throughout 2017, ensuring a safe boating environment for us all to enjoy. We include Luke’s contribution below.

The Harbour Masters Patrol vessels are back on the water for summer to promote safe boating and compliance with the navigation bylaws.

There are two main components to compliance, education and enforcement and our programmes this summer are designed to achieve both.

In terms of education, Marlborough is the first region in New Zealand to offer a free boating workshop to anyone wanting to learn more about safe boating. The workshops are the result of collaboration between Maritime New Zealand, Coastguard Marlborough and the Harbourmaster. So far we have put over 200 people through the programme and received great feedback.

The workshops provide  a few hours in the classroom with an experienced Coastguard skipper followed by boat trip in the afternoon. It’s a great opportunity to ask any questions you have about boating safely. Course attendees are often eligible to discounts on Coastguard Boating Education Courses such as VHF or DAY Skipper so it’s a great way to start your learning journey.

As for enforcement, this summer we working with Maritime New Zealand and eight other Councils to undertake the ‘No Excuses’ campaign. This campaign will be run for five days by each of the councils at different times between 1 December 2017 and 31 March 2018. During the campaign Harbourmasters’ staff and Maritime NZ’s Maritime Officers will be on the water working together.

In Marlborough we will have a strong focus on safe speed for both recreational and commercial vessels, particularly in regards to high risk areas. High risk areas include marinas, mooring areas, swimming areas, popular bays and beaches and busy or congested areas. Many of these high risk areas are marked by yellow 5 knot buoys so there really is no excuse for not slowing down to a courteous and safe speed. If you do get caught exceeding five knots in a high risk area you should expect an infringement.

Keep in mind that our Patrol Skippers aren’t just there to pass out fines and prefer to pass out information about safe boating. Like last year, we have fuel vouchers to give away to every boat who takes part in our safe boating survey. The survey is being run nation-wide to better understand the most pressing navigation safety issues on the water region by region.  If you see the Patrol boat on the water, wave them down to have a chat and share your views about maritime safety.

Lastly, take time to prep check know before you get out on the water. Prep your gear, check the weather and know the rules.

Happy boating

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