Coastguard’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade Campaign is back for summer and travelling to more locations than ever before.
For the first time in the campaign’s seven years, two vans will be travelling from the Far North to the Deep South, heading to 63 boating hot-spots across the country including eight new locations in the Otago Lakes District.
Latest figures from Maritime New Zealand show that the campaign is more relevant than ever with 1.7 million Kiwi’s, almost 45% of the adult population, now out on the water and using an increasingly diverse array of water craft.
Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie says having two travelling vans this year helps meet the growing demand for the campaign across the country.
“In past years only having one van meant we weren’t able to spend as long in the South Island as we do in the North. By increasing our fleet to two, we are able to better serve boaties across the country and spend more time in locations we have not travelled to before, including popular boating hotspots in Central Otago.”
The Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade is one of Coastguard’s leading water safety initiatives, with the aim to remove as many ill-fitting, damaged and old lifejackets from circulation as possible. For five weeks over December 2020 and January 2021, Kiwis have the opportunity to trade in their old lifejackets for a great discount on a range of new, modern, fit-for-purpose Hutchwilco lifejackets.
Each year Old4New Community Ambassador Sue Tucker sees lifejackets in varying conditions being traded in.
“We keep seeing lifejackets that are 40 to 50 years old, if not older. Some lifejackets that were considered safe decades ago are now dangerous – for example, if one of the old kapok-filled lifejackets gets punctured, it can get waterlogged and becomes no better than a wet pillow around your neck.”
Whilst many of the lifejackets traded in are old and worn, Sue and the Old4New team are always pleased to see families making the most of the campaign by upgrading lifejackets children have outgrown.
“It just goes to show that this campaign is essential, because without it people would continue to use unfit lifejackets, which aren’t going to keep them safe on the water,” says Sue.
Over the past seven years more than 15,000 boaties have traded in their old, damaged or worn lifejackets for discounts on brand new, modern Hutchwilco lifejackets — meaning over 15,000 Kiwis are now safer on the water.
Not only is the campaign an opportunity for the public to learn more about boating safety and lifejacket use, it’s a great opportunity to meet local Coastguard volunteers and learn more about the charity’s lifesaving work.
If you can’t make it to one of the van locations this year, retailer Boating and Outdoors will once again be offering the Old4New Upgrade in select stores around the country.
Old4New has become a key factor in keeping Kiwis safe on the water all year round, but it could not be possible without the generous support from our partners including Hutchwilco, Maritime New Zealand, Giltrap Volkswagen and Boating and Outdoors.
For more information and a full location schedule visit www.old4new.nz or contact Coastguard on 0800 BOATIE (262 843).