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Boatie who caused Waitematā Harbour crash fined $5k in 'strong message to all skippers'


A recreational boatie who caused a collision on the Waitematā Harbour has been ordered to pay $5050 in fines and emotional harm payments.

The prosecution was brought by Maritime New Zealand, which said the fine sent a strong message to all skippers that if they put people in danger, they would be prosecuted.

Andrew Douglas Hutchings' boat, Maraetai Star, collided with another vessel in February 2018.

His boat rode into the side of the other, causing significant damage to both vessels and the crash could have been fatal, according to Maritime NZ.

The crash knocked Mr Hutching unconscious and he suffered a broken nose.

Two others onboard were also injured, one of them received a cut to his head and the other suffered a bruised hip.

At Auckland District Court on Monday, Mr Hutchings pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary danger by not keeping proper look out.

He was fined $4650 and ordered to pay the owner of the other boat, an emotional harm payment of $400.

Maritime New Zealand's Neil Rowarth said the fine was a warning to all boaties that they needed to be vigilant on the water, especially at night.

Mr Rowarth said Mr Hutching had been looking at a navigation app on his phone when the crash happened, instead of looking where he was going.

"The skipper of a recreational boat must know they are responsible for the safety of their boat, passengers and crew, and others on the water," he said.

"If you endanger people you can be prosecuted."

Mr Rowarth said thankfully, this type of incident was rare on the Waitematā Harbour, but the boatie community still needed to be vigilant.

It was important for boaties to look at where they are going, especially at night when things on the water look very different, he said.

"We often say to people, they've got all sorts of navigational instruments and electronics to help, but just look out of the window," he said.

rnz.co.nz