Monday, March 15, 2010
An abandoned boat sparked a marine search and rescue operation in Hawke's Bay at the weekend with police believing the occupants had been thrown into the sea. A dinghy was found in the surf at Whirinaki Beach, 15km north of Napier, about 3pm. It had fishing gear on board, its outboard motor still attached, and other items believed to be from the boat were found in the sea Police, the Coastguard and a helicopter searched for two hours but found no sign of the occupants. After publicity about the search, two Hastings fisherman told police they had abandoned the boat. They had tried to launch it off the beach but it was carried out to sea and they decided to leave it there.The operation had cost thousands of dollars and it could have been averted had the fisherman informed police or the coastguard they had abandoned the boat, police search and rescue co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt said. "It's imperative that if you abandon or lose any sort of sea vessel -- whether it's a boat or a kayak or whatever -- it should be reported to the police or coastguard immediately," Mr Shadbolt said. "This saves everyone a lot of trouble and expense and is just plain common sense." Police were also urging boaties to mark their names and contact details on their boats, to help police identify people in situations like Saturday's. The boat owners were spoken to by police.