As the long weekend begins, more boaties are visiting Aotea-Great Barrier Island, against level 4 lockdown rules.
While New Zealand Police and other agencies have reminded boaties to stay off the water during the lockdown, unfortunately some are still visiting Aotea.
“We appreciate the temptation to get out on the water for the long weekend, however it puts unnecessary strain on emergency services and local supplies,” says Kate Crawford, GM Auckland Emergency Management.
“Aotea-Great Barrier Island is one of Auckland’s more isolated communities. It cannot easily support an influx of visitors during the lockdown period when everyone should be staying home,” she says.
“We ask boaties to stay home during the lockdown. This is to ensure your own safety, not create unnecessary work for emergency services and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to isolated parts of Auckland, like Aotea-Great Barrier Island.”
The Auckland Police Maritime Unit has conducted a number of patrols around Aotea, and other islands, since the country moved to alert level 4.
Inspector Grant Tetzlaff, Auckland City Police, says the team have engaged with a number of those out on the water and on boats to ensure people are aware of the restrictions in place.
“The Health Notice is quite clear in that recreational maritime activities – like boating or fishing – are not permitted at this time,” says Inspector Tetzlaff.
“The vast majority of those we have spoken with have been following the rules and are cooperative.
“In some instances people we have come across have been advised to return to the area in Auckland they are supposed to staying. Police have issued warnings in some cases.”
Inspector Tetzlaff says those staying aboard their boats have been spoken to about the level 4 requirements, particularly about remaining in place throughout level 4 restrictions.
Anyone found not complying will be spoken to, and further action may be taken for those refusing to comply.