Holiday message for wharf and boat ramp users 26 December 2018 As people start flocking to our beaches and harbours over the holiday season, our Council has some important safety messages to help ensure everyone looks after themselves. Watch yourself around our wharves and boat ramps The marine facilities (wharves and boat ramps) managed by our Council, with the support of Waikato Regional Council (Harbour Masters), provide for recreational and commercial users. All of us want to get out on the water, but we need to be aware that our facilities can be overcrowded in the holiday period and at times, emotions can ran high. Patience, consideration and being mindful of other users - recreational, commercial and tour operators - are necessities for us all to enjoy our outdoor activities and be safe. We have wharf wardens working at our busiest wharves - Whitianga and Whangamata - to ensure all users of the wharves have fun and are safe. Find out more about the harbour facilitates maintained and managed by our Council here. Wharf jumping Each summer it’s a popular activity for people to jump off wharves. Please remember, any wharf is a potentially hazardous area and children should be supervised by an adult, just as they should be when swimming elsewhere. With teenagers, please, have a word with them about safe jumping and using only the designated part of the wharf – not the parts reserved for commercial vehicles. We are working with Waikato Regional Council, the harbour master, Coastguard, police and commercial boat operators to help keep people safe and we're also putting up signs to indicate where jumping shouldn't be done from around our wharves. If the rules aren't followed, then jumping may be banned from wharves. If you're going to jump from the wharf, please remember:• Jump from the designated zone• Don't dive• Children should be supervised by an adult• You shouldn't jump if you aren't a strong swimmer• Check the depth - make sure the water's deep enough• Don't jump near or on top of others who have just jumped• Don't jump near any boats• Check the current - some children haven't been able to swim back to the beach because of the strong current Look after yourself out on the water Lifejackets are essential for all recreational activities on the water. Maritime NZ has a lot of information on how to choose a lifejacket and other water safety tips, which you can find at maritimenz.govt.nz Coastguard New Zealand’s lifejacket upgrade is back for a limited time across our district, offering the opportunity to trade in your old lifejacket for a great discount on a range of new, modern, fit-for-purpose Hutchwilco lifejackets and vests.. You can do this at the following spots over the next week. Whangamata Boat Ramp, Beach Rd, 8am-11am on Saturday December 22 Thames Shortland Wharf, Queen St, 2pm-5pm, Saturday December 22 Pauanui at the Great Outdoors Expo, Kennedy Park, 8am-5pm Saturday December 29 Mercury Bay Marine, 14 Moewai Rd, in-store swap from 19-30 December More information here: www.old4new.nz Become a Coastguard member Coastguard Northern region covers Thames, across to Kawhia and up both coasts to the top of the Coromandel peninsula. In addition to the rescue service, Coastguard works hard to provide boaties with the information and knowledge to enjoy New Zealand’s waters safely and operates a 24-hour call for people in difficulty on the water. You can support Coastguard and its volunteers by becoming a member. Find our more information here: www.coastguard.org.nz Have fun on the water and stay safe.