Central Otago holidaymakers and residents have “generally” behaved well on the water this summer but a reminder about following safety rules has been issued.
Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey said the Lake Dunstan enforcement officer had advised the behaviour of boat users had “generally been good”, although it was frustrating some new boat owners were “ignorant of some of the basic safety rules”.
The actions of some jet ski operators “where common courtesy is not observed” had also been disappointing, Mr Bailey said.
“As a result, behaviour is not as good as previous years, but overall, generally fine.”
Mr Bailey said several warnings had been issued to boat users, “similar to previous years”. These were mainly for not having an observer while towing, operating a vessel at speed within 50m of another vessel and operating a vessel without life jackets.
the public included two specific incidents over the Christmas-New Year period, Mr Bailey said.
One was from Alexandra woman Sue Scott, who contacted The News with concerns about the “appalling” behaviour of some boat users at Weatherall Creek, near the Dunstan Arm Rowing Club, on January 2.
Mrs Scott said many boat users ignored the speed limits on Lake Dunstan but there appeared to be no-one monitoring behaviour on the lake.
She wanted enforcement of water safety rules on Lake Dunstan stepped up, and said there “should be the same rules and policing on water as there is on land”.
Mr Bailey said another complaint was made about behaviour near the Weatherall Creek pontoons on January 3.
Two groups of people were spreading their equipment to the point where it restricted the access of others.
“The group had a number of larger inflatable toys on the beach area and were asked that they be shifted to allow everybody easy access .. These encounters are also a chance to identify users and know they now understand the bylaws, which are explained in detail to them to update their knowledge.”
Mr Bailey said the Lake Dunstan enforcement officer “unfortunately cannot be everywhere”, but would deal with any issues on the lake if contacted.
He reminded “each boat owner has the responsibility to familiarise themselves with the local lake bylaws”.
“The big reminder is ‘Keep Right’ and operate in an anti-clockwise direction.
“Council would also like to remind lake users that the speed zone from Pisa Moorings to the top of the lake is now 5 knots within 200m from shore, and from Pisa Moorings to the Clyde Dam the 50m rule applies. No person shall operate a vessel exceeding 5 knots within 50 metres of any other vessel, raft or person in the water.”
The full rules are on the CODC website and in Central Otago information centres.