More patrols to prevent jumping in the harbour
City Watch and Maori Wardens will be stepping up patrols around the boat ramp and moorings in an effort to make sure that young kids, teens and in some cases adults are safe from boats, deep water and other hazards.
There are increasing numbers of children, some as young as 3 or 4, bombing and swimming in the inner harbour.
Some children are swimming completely unsupervised in a very hazardous area. “It’s time parents take some responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of their children” said Council's environmental services and protection director, Nick Zaman.
Swimming or diving within 50 meters of a jetty or wharf that’s used for berthing vessels is a breach of the Navigation Bylaw. Offenders could be issued with a $100 infringement. Police may also become involved.
Council have received numerous complaints from boat owners concerned about the potential for serious incidents and injuries.
In a recent case a boat that had lost the ability to steer, and was being towed, had to negotiate upwards of 30 swimmers in and around the boat ramp area.
“The inner harbour is not a safe place for swimmers, boats do not have the ability to stop, or manoeuvre like a motor vehicle and, the ability of boat operators to see what’s in front, around and under the boat is limited. It’s a very dangerous situation” said Mr Zaman.
“Our City Watch and Maori Wardens will guide swimmers away from the inner harbour to safer areas away from vessels.
“We have some fantastic places to swim and play. We'll be asking people to use our rivers, beaches, Olympic Pools or local school pools, some of which are open over the summer holiday period.
“We want everyone to enjoy our waterways and to be safe while we look for safer alternatives,” said Mr Zaman.
People can swim in the Taruheru, Waimata or the main Turanganui rivers, city beaches or the pools.
• To report swimming or diving in the harbour call Council on 0800 653 800.
• If you or your property are threatened call the Police on 111.