As a charity organisation, the Royal New Zealand Coastguard keeps pushing the boundaries with its breathtaking initiatives. The civilian marine search and rescue organisation has all hands on deck all year round for boat lovers and surrounding communities, defiant to keep saving lives at sea.
This valiant group is set to continue its boating safety initiative, the Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade. This widely applauded programme first went nationwide in 2016, to resounding success and the Coastguard isn’t set to recline on its oars in “search and rescue, communication and education”.
The Giltrap Group displayed sheer benevolence by making available the Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade van free-of-charge. The van itself will hold a generous number of lifejackets, while making anticipated trips to more than thirty five boat ramps and locations across New Zealand each weekend and on selected days throughout the busy summer period. There is surely no better chance to trade in your worn jackets for something fresh and more durable.
How does the Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade work?
Simple as A-B-C – get your old or damaged lifejacket and present it to the Old4New team that will soon visit your locality. Locations will be advertised beforehand. In return, you will receive a handsome discount on a premium quality, purpose-fit Hutchwilco lifejacket that ticks all the boxes that spell modern.
The general public, not just boaties, are encouraged to approach the van to trade in their ageing lifejackets. More than lifejackets, there will also be excellent instruction and advice on boating and water safety from the amiable team at each site location.
Operating primarily non-profit, Coastguard’s Old4new Lifejacket Upgrade has become a mainstay in its continuing advocacy for safe and enjoyable boating over each annual boating season.
As statistical figures suggest, their relentless campaign is working too, or so it seems – only 70% of boaties admit to wearing a lifejacket at all times while on water. Kayakers and canoeists exhibit the highest rates (83%) while power boat users appear to be more hard of hearing, as only 60% of them use lifejackets. People in sail boats show the least adoption of lifejackets – a mere 55%.
Continuing education programmes is certainly important to sustaining the success of Coastguard initiatives. The majority of gory boating fatalities could have been prevented if the person had only heeded the Royal Coastguard’s admonition to wear a lifejacket. The lifejacket exchange campaign has the primary target of saving lives by changing attitudes.
Patrick Holmes, Chief Executive of Coastguard New Zealand, shares the viewpoint that though more lives have been saved from the jaws of death through the increasing use of lifejackets, there is the issue of attitudes of people riding in small watercraft that can easily capsize (especially when under six meters in length) to grapple with. Many simply do not wear the necessary lifejackets. This continues to be the primary reason why boating accidents often come with loss of life.
Mr Holmes continues by saying the Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign removes any barriers to make sure boaties have the correct number and type of lifejackets on board.
The boat Skipper has a responsibility to verify that the vessel is equipped with the correct number of lifejackets, each being the correct size too. This is the standard Coastguard recommendation for vessels less than six meters longer. The organisation also says wearing lifejackets on-board is non-negotiable unless the Skipper directs otherwise.
All lifejackets purchased through the programme are available at significant discounts. All lifejackets will save you $30 off the regular retail price. The Hutchwilco Mariner Classic for children retailing for $99 would be available for trade-in at a paltry $59, while adult XS and XXL sizes weigh in at $64 and $68 respectively.
The Hutchwilco Reactor XS will go for $99, whereas the XXL will be available at $109. The Reactor is not available for children – it’s no child’s play!
The Hutchwilco Wee Wilco XS only caters to children and will make you part with $84 if you really want to get it while the best savings - $40 – are available with the adult-only Hutchwilco Inflatable 150N Manual at $99.
It is important to note that new lifejackets can be purchased from the van without trade-in. They will however be priced at the normal retail price. Also, any lifejacket accessories will be available at regular retail price. The crotch strap costs $14, and re-arming kits are priced $28 and $49 for manual and automatic respectively.
A crotch strap keeps the lifejacket in place if a mishap occurs and you end up in water. Crotch straps will be free for all inflatable lifejacket sold through Old4New this year.
The location schedule will see the van visit only the most popular boat ramps nationwide but Boating & Outdoors is ensuring you do not miss a beat of the campaign rhythm by offering trade-in at their stores during the campaign. This will be convenient for many.
There might be concerns about what minimum condition the lifejacket must be in to qualify for trade-in. Well, any lifejacket at all can be traded in regardless of its condition. What’s best is that you go with the best lifejacket that suits your boat and adventure.
Australia’s Transport New South Wales has a similar concept upon which the Old4New Lifejacket campaign is based on. In terms of hard numbers, Old4New’s success can be seen in the fact that more than 4,000 life jackets have been traded since 2014 when it was first trialled.
The lifejacket exchange campaign seeks to increase awareness of the importance of life jackets while being practical in addressing the issue. When the campaign ends, Coastguard will distribute some of the lifejackets traded into indigent communities. The lifejackets are first certified to be in good condition and meet New Zealand standards.
Support for the Old4New Lifejacket Campaign comes from Maritime New Zealand, Hutchwilco (the quality lifejacket manufacturer), and Giltrap Group, the kiwi vehicle distributor. These are proudly New Zealand-owned and New Zealand-operated companies, aligning with a government institution to empower a charity organisation to save lives by supporting boating safety. Nothing could be more noble. Nothing could be more exciting.
Having two corporate heavyweights sounds astonishing until you learn that the Boating & Outdoors group is also offering trade-in at their twenty-three stores nationwide. These span Northland to Invercargill, and every place in-between and are available during specific weeks of the campaign.
This season’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade has its final days set for Tuesday 29th January 2019, Saturday 2nd February 2019, and Sunday 3rd February 2019. The Tuesday event (Sulphur Point) is for 3pm – 6pm while the weekend dates happen 9am – 2pm. Saturday is at Takapuna Boat Ramp in North Shore while Auckland Marine Rescue Centre, off Tamaki Drive, Mechanics Bay, Auckland CBD will host Sunday’s grand finale.
If you are looking to get a Coastguard Membership, the Old4New campaign can help you with that. Alternatively, you can sign up or renew on their website. The team is also available on 0800 BOATIE (262 843).