It was a case of out with the old, unsafe lifejackets and in with new, modern ones this summer.
The 10-week Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade, run by Coastguard New Zealand, led to 3000 old or obsolete lifejackets traded in by boaties from 55 communities for new Hutchwilco versions.
“Many of the lifejackets that were traded in were unusable to the point of being dangerous,” says Old4New spokeswoman Sue Tucker.
“A number of the old lifejackets were filled with Kapok that had become water laden these used to be a common sight decades ago, but now (they) would be more of a hindrance than a help in an emergency situation.”
Two of the traded-in lifejackets were more than 60 years old but were still being used regularly.
Coastguard’s message about lifejackets is simple take them and wear them, says Coastguard NZ chief executive Patrick Holmes.
“A lifejacket is no good to anyone if it’s stowed away, and even less so if it’s old or in a poor condition,” he said.
“Wearing a good quality, fit-for-purpose lifejacket has never ruined a day out on the water.”
As well as trading lifejackets, the Old4New team provided thousands of people with safe boating advice across the country over the 10 weeks, Mr Holmes said. The campaign, in its fourth year, had funding from Maritime New Zealand and support from the Southern Trust, Hutchwilco and Giltrap Group. NZN