Coastguard Launches Lifejacket Awareness Day

( Coastguard’s Northern Region is launching its inaugural Lifejacket Awareness Day on October 30th to tackle the high number of drownings in the area.

Water Safety New Zealand statistics show that of the 85 people that drowned in 2010, 27 were from the northern region. Men in particular are at high risk with 76 per cent of all drownings involving males – many of which could have been prevented if they had been wearing a lifejacket.

Darren Arthur, Education Manager for Coastguard’s Northern Region says these statistics highlight a worrying trend for Kiwis and believes education is a critical step in creating a better understanding of the importance of wearing lifejackets.

”Kiwis often think they’re invincible and that they don’t need lifejackets, but when they come across difficulty on the water the lack of one poses a real risk to their lives. Ask any one of our 2,386 volunteers and they will all be able to share a story about an incident where wearing a lifejacket would have made all the difference to the outcome.

“These days lifejackets are not only affordable but comfortable and unobtrusive to the point where you don’t even realise you’ve got them on. It’s also not uncommon for adults to place importance on ensuring all children on board are wearing a lifejacket but forget about making their own safety a priority. We really need to see a shift in this thinking,” he says.

“For us, Coastguard’s Lifejacket Awareness Day is about educating people about the importance of being safe on the water right at the start of the boating season to help avoid more drowning incidents this summer.”

What: Coastguard Northern Region’s Family Fun Day to launch its Lifejacket Awareness Day.

When: 30th October, 2011, 11-1pm

Where: Kawakawa Bay Boat Ramp

Packed with fun and education for the whole family, the day includes free mini-seminars, fantastic spot prizes to be won with a pebble hunt, a colouring competition, touch rugby and a free sausage sizzle. Proud Coastguard sponsor Hutchwilco have also jumped on board to support the event with lifejackets at great prices for sale through Coastguard on the day.

Coastguard recommends the following boating checklist for everyone going out on the water:

· Make sure there are enough lifejackets for all people on board

· Make sure that all lifejackets are the correct size for people on the boat e.g. children should not be wearing an adult sized lifejacket

· Check the weather forecast

· Ensure your boat has some form of radio and GPS system

· Make sure you have a back up form of communication such as a mobile phone kept safe in a waterproof pouch

Media Release 12 October 2011.