7 Jun 2014

Change to compulsory lifejacket plans

7:47 am on 7 June 2014

An Auckland Council panel has made a major concession over plans to make the wearing of lifejackets compulsory on small boats.

The boating community has been fighting a proposal for lifejackets to be worn at all times on boats of six metres or less.

About 80 per cent of the 395 public submissions on the plan were opposed to the move.

The council panel has now recommended it be mandatory for lifejackets to be worn unless the skipper of the boat says otherwise.

Councillor Calum Penrose says the panel has reached a middle ground which puts the responsibilty on the skipper while also reducing the risk of preventable drownings.

The panel's recommendation will be presented to the full council, which will make the final decision.

Mike Cahill from the Hibiscus Coast Boating Club has praised the recommendation and said he's pleased the panel opted to support the change.

He said it's consistent with what Maritime New Zealand the Small Boats Safety Forum says and he would like to see the policy adopted nationally.