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Sailing safety in the silly season - we are all responsible.

It's that time of the year again. Lots of people travelling to different and sometimes new locations to sail, more people on the water and less experience/common sense. The number of fatalities so far is disappointing, and one of the fingers is being pointed at conflicted use of water - so be extra careful of other water users, small and big. The Southern Lakes Windsports newsletter highlights several issues in their area, from safety to access, probably caused by visitors who do not understand the local issues, relationships and responsibilities - so if you are visiting a new area please talk to the locals and find out what the rules are.

If (as in the case of Jardines) it's restricted access then join the club - it's only a few dollars for a good sail, and since generally in New Zealand access is free the occasional expense shouldn't be a biggie. This goes for overseas visitors too, if you see someone who looks like they are not local, rigging in the wrong place, camper van, unusual kit etc. then go and introduce yourself, tell them about the area, find out what level they sail at - they'll no doubt appreciate it (we've met some great people this way), and they won'y become another statistic on New Zealands not so great adventure sports record. They also won't become a reason for the sport being banned from you favourite patch. This includes kites, people including the media cannot tell the difference, especially when things go wrong.

Have a great summer - best wishes for the New Year, see you at the AGM in Christchurch in January
Bruce

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