Summer! On water safety. OZTeK. Wyland.
By Dave Moran
Here in New Zealand we are having one of our best summers in years. Temperatures creeping up into the high 30C and water temperatures well into the 20C. You hardly need a wetsuit to go snorkelling! The easterly winds have been a bit of a pain but all in all there has been plenty of diving happening around our coast. Dive stores report good sales which is fantastic after a particularly long, tough winter. May it continue!
Boating and diving accidents
Unfortunately along with summers water sports are the inevitable boating and diving accidents. The water safety message of wearing a lifejacket when out boating continues to fall on deaf ears. Over the last month a number of people lost their lives through not wearing a life jacket. Most of the boats had lifejackets on board but those on board never got around to putting them on. Some put jackets on the youngest in the boat which, thankfully, saved the childs life but the child is now without a father/uncle/older brother/sister etc.
Unfortunately there is still that all too common disrespect for how quickly conditions can turn peared shape when out on the water. Complete confidence in the skipper and the notion that it will never happen to me is why so many find themselves in unexpected unsurvivable circumstances.
If you are the skipper, ensure all on board put on his/her lifejacket before leaving the safety of the harbour. If you are a passenger, ask for a lifejacket and put it on! Men are the worst. That male bravado of I know the ocean and know how to handle the conditions and can take care of myself and others if need be is still strong in the Kiwi and Aussie male psyche.
Recently while boating I observed two differing attitudes:
In the first instance lifejackets were handed to all on board by the skipper and all put them on without the skipper asking. The skipper was in his early 20s and so were those on board except for me. So maybe the young are getting the message. The jackets these days are so low profile you hardly know you have one on.
The second trip was with older guys. As we motored towards the open sea, leaving the flat calm conditions of the inner harbour, the skipper put his jacket on and the rest did not follow suit – it was a very calm day – sound familiar? Later in the day as we headed back to shore the weather had deteriorated and the skipper made a point of handing out the jackets. Two of us put them on, a third didn’t bother. I should have asked him why? But I suspect because we were close to the shoreline he felt he could swim if things went belly up plus we were in a very seaworthy boat being handled by an excellent skipper.
History tells us that this false sense of security can have tragic consequences when the unexpected happens.
Do yourself a favour – put that jacket on next time you go boating – you will still be a real tough bloke/lady!
Then you get the real idiots such as the divers who went to sea without an anchor, radio, cell phone or lifejackets and had to be rescued. I think they were all real kick arse tough blokes – yeah right!
OZTeK 2013 – See you there
If you are looking for diving motivation /inspiration and socializing with divers I recommend you plan to be at OZTeK in Sydney over the weekend of 16- 17 March. Visit:
The list of international presenters is world class. Product displays are also a must see. If you do jump aboard please call by our Dive Pacific magazine stand we would love to meet you.
Do you know someone special?
Lets us know who they are? Wyland Foundation – Dive New Zealand Magazine Recognition Award.
Get out on and below the water
Continue enjoying our amazing summer. Make sure you get out on and below the water – enjoy.