Coastguard Wanaka Lakes (CWL) is helping to protect families on the water this summer through a safety awareness programme on Sunday, December 9. Families Day is a chance to support locals and help educate the population about safe boating practises.
CWL crew members will be on hand to talk about the importance of wearing a life jacket, raising awareness of Coastguard initiatives and how they serve the community, as well as offering a chance for the public to ride the Coastguard Rescue Vessel (CRV).
CWL President Jonathan Walmisley had a few tips for boaties as his team approaches its busy summer season, with incidents often occurring on weekends and public holidays, "Have fun on the lake, but be safe at the same time; wear a life jacket and tell someone your plans so if you are late they can call for help. Your life or that of your child may depend on it."
CWL will use its time also to discuss membership options to Coastguard app Boaties Best Mate, which allows boaters to easily log their trip and stay safe on the water.
As the CWL looks to the future, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has this week notified its intention to grant a 33-year lease to CWL to build a new rescue centre at a portion of Eely Point Recreation Reserve. Walmisley said the location of the centre would allow his crew to cut their incident response time in half, thereby increasing a person's chance of survivability, due to the proximity of the CRV storage to the water. The coastguard currently leases space at the Wanaka A&P Showgrounds, and CRV deployment times can take more than an hour during busy summer months.
CWL have operated as part of the emergency response network in the district since 2011.
Families day will run between 9am and 12pm at Wanaka Marina along the new jetty.