Restraint urged when near the water
Ahead of the first weekend at Level 3 with some restrictions around aquatic recreation lifted, Water Safety New Zealand is urging people to use restraint.
“New Zealanders generally did a great job during Level 4 of adhering to the lockdown protocols,” says CEO Jonty Mills.
“We understand people will be looking forward to getting back into water based activities, and that’s great news for everyone, but we want everyone to use caution.
“Before, during and after COVID-19 our physical waterways remain the same and our underlining messages also remain the same. They are welcoming and inviting but can be unpredictable and unforgiving. People need to respect that and make wise decisions, in support of the alert level 3 restrictions.”
The government’s advice during Level 3 is as follows:
Water-based activities are discouraged where they would expose participants to danger or require search and rescue services.
• Water-based activities involving sailing boats, powerboats, motorised craft such as jet skis, or equipment, or scuba diving are not allowed.
• Maintain physical distancing with people outside your bubble.
• Remain within your current abilities and don’t pick up new activities.
“It’s all about limiting risk and keeping people safe including our emergency services,” says Jonty.
Comprehensive guidance on what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to outdoor recreation including water based activities can be found at www.covid19outdoors.nz
“The thinking here is people who already take part in this type of activity are allowed to go back to it, it doesn’t mean picking up a surfboard for the first time.
“You need to stay in your bubble and in your region and practice physical distancing and make water safety a top priority.”
If you decide to return to a water based activity during Level 3 WSNZ wants everybody to remember the water safety code:
Watch out for yourself and others
Be aware of the dangers
Know your limits
“These are the critical messages for people to remember at all times when it comes to water safety,” says Jonty.
“Do not overdo it. Stay within your limits and don’t go out alone. We don’t want to see a surge in rescues for our frontline services. The most critical thing still is stopping the spread of this virus.”
People are also reminded that Surf Life Saving New Zealand lifeguards are no longer on patrol, so beaches with big swells, strong currents and rips should be avoided.
“Only get in the water when conditions are calm. Check the forecast and only go back to what you know. Now is not the time to take up a new aquatic activity or explore a new area” says Jonty.