Coastguard urges boaties to look after their safety during bust summer period

After some high profile incidents on the water late in 2016 and since the New Year, Coastguard’s latest safety initiative urges boaties to check their lifejackets and those of their families, to ensure everyone stays safe this summer.

Coastguard’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign is a safety campaign aimed at getting old or damaged lifejackets out of circulation in favour of new, modern, fit-for-purpose lifejackets. Boaties simply take their lifejacket to the Old4New van or one of the 23 Boating & Outdoors stores nationwide, and receive a great discount on a new Hutchwilco lifejacket suitable for their water activity.

There’s been a wide variety of people trading in their old lifejackets. “We’ve had people from all walks of life recognising that lifejackets are crucial for their safety on the water. We’ve had boaties replacing well-used lifejackets, parents upsizing their kid’s outgrown lifejackets, through to 89-year-old Lynn replacing her own lifejacket as she prepares for another decade’s boating,” said Callum Gillespie, CEO of Coastguard Northern Region.

“It’s grea to see so many people recognising that lifejackets save lives, and taking action to ensure their safety on the water.”

So far, boaties have traded in over 2200 obsolete, worn or ill-fitting lifejackets at Old4New locations across the country. The Old4New team, who have already travelled to 29 boat ramps across the North Island and top of the South, are now making their way down to Canterbury before looping back up the country to Auckland.

The Old4New team has had lifejackets traded in that are literally falling apart, while some have been in excellent condition but have simply been outgrown by the user. Those lifejackets that are in good condition and still meet NZ Standards will be distributed to in-need Pacific Island communities at the end of the campaign.

The campaign received vital funding from Maritime New Zealand, and has been supported by Kiwi companies Giltrap Group, Hutchwilco and retailer Boating & Outdoors.

The Old4New campaign takes place during the busiest time of year for Coastguard volunteers. During December, Coastguard nationwide received nearly 40,000 radio calls, including Trip Reports and incident reports. The Northern Region Operations Centre, which oversees the busiest boating area in New Zealand, logged 15,932 trip reports and incident reports from boaties, including five days where over 1000 radio calls were made daily. The busiest day of 2016 was New Year’s Eve, with the Northern Region Operations Centre taking 1946 calls in 24 hours alone – an average of two calls every three minutes.