Inexperienced boatie who’d been drinking grounds boat – skipper fined

Fri, Mar 31
Lake Wakatipu.

A boatie has been sentenced in Invercargill after letting his inexperienced friend who had been drinking drive his boat, leading to its grounding on Lake Wakatipu in November 2021.

"On the day of the accident, the skipper took a group of friends out on the lake for a fishing trip aboard the 8.5 metre vessel," Maritime NZ said today. "The skipper had over 45 years' experience on the water.

"Most people on board, including the skipper were drinking alcohol."

Out on the lake, the skipper gave control of the boat to his guests — and later in the day, conditions started to become choppy.

"The skipper didn't provide supervision to those in charge of the vessel," Maritime NZ said.

"The boat's speed was increased by him, when close to the shore, and this meant the vessel was not doing a safe speed (it was travelling 7 knots) and about 20 metres off the shore. The vessel then grounded."

Maritime NZ's manager of general regulatory operations John Drury said the passenger in control at the time of the grounding was "inexperienced, had not received updated instructions and had been drinking prior to being in charge".

"Any skipper should be aware of how the vessel is managed and the skills of those in charge," Drury said.

"He needed to supervise, monitor and instruct those in charge of the vessel."

Four people, including the skipper, were injured in the grounding.

The skipper was fined $1000 and $130 court costs, and ordered to pay reparations amounting to $1850 to two victims.


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