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Avon River users provided with safer environment

10 October 2007

Safety for non-powered water craft using the Avon River has been improved for this summer.

The City Council has spent $875,000 to help provide a safer environment for canoeists, kayakers and rowing skiffs on the Avon. This work has included river embankment improvements to provide a larger and safer launching area at Kerrs Reach and the installation of pontoons for easier river access during low and high tides.

Council Recreation and Sports Manager John Filsell says a pontoon has also been installed at Owles Terrace and new signage along the river to educate users of the "rules" that apply to this area of water.

"The number of non-powered craft users on this section of the Avon has increased significantly in recent years. This has resulted in a number of incidents and near misses relating to the launching of craft, river access and river use."

This Saturday, 13 October, there will be an opening of the safety improvements at the Avon Rowing Club, Kerrs Reach (off Avonside Drive), at 9am, in time for the busy summer season. There will be an official ceremony, followed by light refreshments.

"This has been a significant project for Council, with the improvements expected to improve the safety for all river users.

"Throughout summer, Council will undertake an extensive education programme to ensure all river users are made aware of passing lanes and the rules for using the river safety."

He says the rules of the river are simple:

  • Rowers and large paddled craft travel anticlockwise.
  • Small paddled craft travel clockwise.
  • When passing head on, small paddled craft move to the bank, larger craft move to the centre.
  • Overtaking vessels must give way.
  • Vessels moving downstream give way to those travelling upstream.
  • If in doubt, stop.
  • If a collision seems imminent, shout a warning to the crew of the other boat.
  • During the hours of darkness, a red flashing forward-facing light must be used at all times.

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