A clamp-down on waterway risk takers in underway as Marlborough braces for one of its busiest summers on record.
Marlborough’s Harbour Master Captain Luke Grogan and his team are targeting speeding hot spots.
The number of speed breaches is substantial and the potential for a fatality is growing, he warns.
Speeding hotspots in Havelock Channel and Waikawa will come under extra scrutiny as speed cameras are deployed.
“There are a lot of blind corners and people go through there at 30 knots.
“This will cause a fatality if there’s an accident,” Luke says.
Activity on the water is expected to rise this summer as people holiday in New Zealand rather than overseas.
“This year will be one of the busiest summers on record and there will be lot of activity on the water.
“It will be awesome to see people coming to the Sounds and enjoying the Sounds.
“We want to encourage people to be safer and not just think of themselves but also others on the water and have that courtesy,” Luke says.
“People underestimate the risks. They just see a nice sunny day and head out into the blue. It’s easy to forget that they’re going off into the wilderness.
“If you add alcohol into that mix, then things are only going to escalate.”
Fully calibrated speed cameras put in place last year on the Wairau River have highlighted a growing problem with ski joy riders.
“We had a hunch, but the actual numbers are higher than we thought. A lot of families use the Wairau and rowers.
“It’s an accident waiting to happen,” Luke says.
With about 3000 square kilometres under his care, Luke is appealing for people not to take risks.
“Speed is the biggest problem. We’re increasingly spending our time trying to manage speed risks we see arising.
“Jet skis are more accessible, the barriers to entry you might get with a boat are not there and the temptation to hoon around is quite high.
“We’ve had a number of near misses, and also some serious injuries.”
For help and advice on how to safe on the water visit www.marlborough.govt.nz/environment/harbours/safer-boating