As the temperatures rise, both boaters and harbor masters are considering the implementation of boat licenses to enhance safety on the water.
With approximately 1.5 million boats in New Zealand, it’s anticipated that harbors and marinas could become congested waterways.
Boats seem to represent the final frontier of freedom, as New Zealanders can acquire a boat and promptly set sail without delay.
Fisherman Geoff Lamond holds a driver’s license for his car and believes that the present moment is appropriate to implement a similar requirement for boating.
“Simply being at a marina or a boat ramp in New Zealand during the summer is like watching a show with popcorn in hand. You witness all sorts of activities,” he shared with Seven Sharp. “And that’s even before they’ve set out on the water.”
He believes it will make things safer.
“We’ve witnessed individuals on the rocks, tragic loss of lives – it’s becoming quite concerning when such matters come up,” he expressed.
It’s not a novel concept; New South Wales is already experimenting with it. They’re mandating boat enthusiasts to complete an online test before obtaining their licenses. The aim is to avoid turning the license into a hindrance for boating and perhaps even introduce the fundamentals in school curricula.
“It could just be a few hours annually. As a nation of sea lovers, with numerous lakes and rivers, a significant portion of people indulge in boating. Therefore, let’s consider introducing a bit of structured education so that individuals understand how to navigate the waters safely,” suggested Peter Busfield of the NZ Marine Industry Association.
“In New Zealand, it’s part of our culture to enjoy the family boat during the summer season. When you contemplate the safety of families and individuals, it becomes quite evident and straightforward to me.”
At present, there isn’t any existing legislation to back the proposal, but Chris Bredenbeck, the Waikato Regional Harbourmaster, noted that much of the foundational work is already in place. He mentioned:
“We are already engaged in ensuring compliance on the waterways, and incorporating this would simply be another extension of our resources.”