Tasman Police are encouraging the public to be responsible when taking part in water-related activities this summer after two recent search and rescue incidents.

Boating, kayaking, swimming, diving and other water-related activities are very popular during summer but it is imperative people respect the water, be safety aware and always communicate their whereabouts.

On Christmas Day a person was reported missing in the Motueka River and a Search and Rescue operation commenced immediately involving the Tasman Bay Swift Water Rescue team, a local jet boat operator, Fire and Emergency NZ and Police volunteers.

However, the missing person was later found to have returned home, having left the area without letting their friends know.

Search and rescue staff put their lives on the line when searching for people, and ultimately everyone out in the water needs to take responsibility for themselves and young ones, which means taking proper safety precautions and communicating.

In another incident yesterday two people were assisted after their yacht broke down in Okuri Bay as they were travelling from Waikawa to Nelson.

The two-person crew had no Marine VHS radio and no way of calling for help, and one of the passengers had to row to shore in a dinghy and walk for five hours to French Pass to raise the alarm.

Police and Coastguard responded and the person was taken to Okiwi Bay with the help of local residents, where they were reunited with the other passenger who had been rescued from the yacht by Coastguard as the weather deteriorated.

This dangerous situation could have been avoided had the yacht been equipped with a Marine VHF radio or emergency communication device.

Police thank the Coastguard, and French Pass and Okiwi Bay residents for their support and assistance during the search and rescue response.

Police remind people heading out on the water to take some simple steps to protect themselves and others, and avoid emergency services being called out needlessly.

  • When going swimming at the beach, swim at beaches patrolled by life guards and swim between the flags.
  • When boating, ensure your boat is equipped for the conditions, there are life jackets for all occupants and that they wear them.
  • Make sure you have two forms of communication on-board, such as a cell-phone, VHS radio, or other emergency communication device, so you can get help if something goes wrong, or let people know if your plans change.
  • Tell people where you are going, when you should be returning and when the alarm should be raised should you not return.

People heading out into the water also need to keep an eye on conditions and changes in weather, stay well within their abilities, treat the water with respect and caution, and avoid alcohol.

Police want everyone enjoying themselves on the water this summer to stay safe, aware, and well equipped.