Manukau Cruising join lifejacket lending initiative

By D'Angelo Martin

Fishermen and those wanting to get out into one of New Zealand's dangerous stretches of water, Manukau Harbour can now borrow a lifejacket from the Manukau Cruising Club for the price of a gold coin. This is the newest lending hub with more being launched in the coming months.

Those wanting to get out on to the sea know that safety comes first, and now with this new lifejacket lending initiative, that's been established. Nine year aquatic educator Harry Aonga, who works for Drowning Prevention Auckland says:

"It should've been established years ago, we did have a similar one running a couple of years back however we can't look back we can only look forward and I'm really excited with the new lifejacket hubs that are up and running at the moment." 

People who need a life jacket can easily get one now.

"There are 5 areas where they're kept, communicate with the people that are there it's a gold coin donation, so it encourages that you giving back the lifejacket but also fundraise for the organization because they might want to fundraise to get more lifejackets." 

Manukau Cruising commodore Marie Vaughan says, "We've partnered up with drowning prevention, we're going to do some safety training and some programs at the club. The Manukau Harbour is pretty dangerous and it's got a fast tide."

One of Aonga’s main reasons for sticking with his mahi was to educate as many people as possible about water safety.

"There was a death under the Mangere Bridge that happened to a Tongan family, because I'm Tongan heritage. That really impacted me because I remember it was a beautiful day in May and then I got home and heard about the tragic drowning."

The lifejackets will be accessible to all age groups.

"With the stats in terms of drowning was quite high for the older age group those who were 55 plus, so I guess a lot of people at that age are already stuck on their ways." 

Vaughan concludes, "Some of the fishermen are very experienced and very skilled and probably don't need to wear a life jacket. What we're trying to do is get the message out that everyone needs to wear a lifejacket, TAKE NO RISK!"

The long term goal is for these lifejacket hubs to expand here in Auckland, and spread throughout the country.