DOC skipper ordered to pay $10k after jet boat hits kayaker

Whanganui River, North Island, New Zealand

2021-11-26 10:41:32

A Department of Conservation (DOC) ranger has been ordered to pay more than $10,000 reparation after he plowed a jet boat into a kayaker, who suffered multiple injuries to their ribs, lungs and shoulder.

Whanganui River, North Island, New Zealand

Photo: 123RF

Wanihi Butler was skippering a DOC boat on the Whanganui River in November last year when the crash happened.

The kayaker saw the jet boat and paddled to the side to give it space.

But as the boat got within 20 metres of the paddler it accelerated, knocking them into the river and causing multiple injuries.

Maritime NZ said the DOC worker failed to maintain a proper lookout and breached the rules.

The man has been ordered to pay reparation of $10,400 by the Whanganui District Court for the collision.

Maritime NZ’s central compliance manager Michael-Paul Abbott said people must maintain a good visual lookout during all weather conditions, and adjust speed accordingly.

“We know that weather can change at a moment’s notice, so it’s imperative that a skipper stays focused, adjusts their speed, and keeps a good visual watch in all weather conditions.”

Butler was charged with causing unnecessary danger or risk.

He was not fined “due to the financial capacity of the defendant”, Maritime NZ said.

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