New rules for boaties are being considered by Taupo’s Harbourmaster in a bid to make the water safer.
A draft of the Lake Taupo Navigation Safety Bylaw has been released by the Harbourmaster’s office and the public is encouraged to have their say on the proposal.
Changes include that flotation devices must be worn in small vessels, a three-knot restriction for all marinas, a requirement for all skippers to carry a means of communication and the creation of a reserved swimming area at Whareroa.
Deputy Harbourmaster Heath Cairns said a review is carried out every five years and he was eager to see the Whareroa swimming reserve become a lake rule.
“The swimming zone was requested by the community down there and we have had it in place as a trial to see if it would work,” he said.
“There were some concerns it might obstruct some activities but after the trial we have received no complaints and we have had support from residents and holidaymakers to make it a full-time swim zone.”
Shaw said the requirement to have all boaties carry a communication device should not be a problem for most, and would just reinforce safety.
“The communication device does not need to be a radio, it can just be a cell phone,” Cairns said.
“But the big thing to realise there is if the vessel is under six metres long the cellphone needs to be in a water-proof case or zip lock back to keep it dry.
“That is done because the risk of capsizing is much higher in smaller vessels.”
The draft proposals will be open for public submissions until November 4.
Cairns said he is looking forward to receiving submissions from boaties for consideration to make sure the safety review is comprehensive for all lake users.