More than $740,000 in funding will be distributed to 21 on-water and land-based national and regional safer boating initiatives as part of the 2021 Safer Boating Campaign. The recipients of the annual Fuel Excise Duty (FED) funding was announced by Maritime NZ.
The campaign is a collaboration between Maritime NZ and the Safer Boating Forum, which is made up of 24 member organisations with an interest in reducing injuries and fatalities on the water.
“Making life safer for all recreational boaties is the central focus of the campaign, and the grants will go a long way toward achieving this,” said Maritime NZ director Kirstie Hewlett.
Maritime NZ knows from research that a third of all boaties do not undertake any special planning before they head out onto the water, which is why a mix of on-water and land-based engagement is crucial to improving safer boating outcomes.
“Funding a range of safer boating programmes in a number of regions, with different partners, ensures we can educate and reach a range of communities and make an impact on behaviours before people get on to boats as well as on the water.”
Nearly 10% of the funding – $70,000 – is being allocated to the on-water ‘No Excuses’ campaign, which brings harbourmasters from the 14 participating district and regional councils to join with Maritime NZ staff to ensure boaties know, understand, and follow the rules, including lifejacket wearing and safe speed.
Initiatives funded include programmes to upgrade lifejackets, focus on skipper responsibility, safety training for kayakers, paddle boarders, and waka ama paddlers, diver supervision, yachting training for children, and a drowning prevention programme specifically targeted at the Pacific Island community.
The amounts allocated range from $5500 for the Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK) to $80,000 for Coastguard’s Old4New campaign offering discounted lifejackets to those who upgrade their old or damaged lifejackets across New Zealand.
“Unsafe lifejackets do not discriminate on who their victims are, which is why Maritime NZ continues to work with Coastguard to get unsafe lifejackets out of circulation,” Hewlett said.
“Old lifejackets also include those with cotton straps and filled with kapok, which has been proven to absorb water and cause wearers to sink.