Please select your home edition
Hella Dual Colour Floodlights - Top 728 x 90px - 1 jpg

Nelson family in rapids capsize using ride-on kayaks

by NZ Police Media 6 Jan 18:07 NZDT 6 January 2020
Motueka River Grade 2 rapids © Rescue Nelson

Members of a local Nelson family had a very close call when they went kayaking down a section of the Motueka River near Ngatamoti on Sunday afternoon.

It was the first time they had been on the river and they were not prepared for the grade two rapids they encountered.

As they entered rapids, two of the party of four got into difficulty.

A woman capsized and was then swept down the rapid head first and a teenage girl became pinned against a rock at the top of the rapid.

This is an incredibly dangerous situation to be in, local Police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Malcolm York says.

The girl's father managed to get to her and they made the correct decision to stay in the safe position on the rock and call for help.

Police and Fire and Emergency staff responded and set up below the rapid where they could assist with throw lines if the pair were swept off the rock.

Members of the Tasman Land Search and Rescue River Search and Rescue team were dispatched with a jet boat to the scene, where a rescuer gave the pair helmets and walked them upstream to the jet boat where they were then taken back to shore.

Thankfully the pair were uninjured but were assessed by St John staff before returning home.

The woman who capsized and another male were able to get themselves back to shore safely.

There are some very important lessons learnt by the group that were kayaking a river they had never been on before.

Their kayaks were plastic ride on kayaks that are only suitable for calm seas or lakes.

They also had no helmets to protect their heads from striking objects in the water.

Sergeant York says it's so important to know your limitations and stay within them.

"To run a river with rapids you need to have the right equipment and know how to use it correctly. You need to be trained how to read the river and how to pick the safest line to travel down.

Even on a grade two river, like the Motueka, there are so many hazards for the untrained.

Sadly, we have lost too many lives on the Motueka River over the years.

"Even with the right training and equipment it's always important to find out from a local expert about the section of river you want to run and preferably go with someone who has run the river before."

River running is a complex skill that requires kayak training, rescue training, good equipment, local knowledge and a good level of New Zealand bush skills including navigation and first aid, New Zealand Kayak School, NZOIA Assessor, Tasman White Water Rescue Team member Mick Hopkinson says.

“If you really want to be a river runner either join a kayak club or go with skilled, experienced friends who can look you after when things don't go to plan.

“Sit upon kayaks are designed for family fun on easy, safe beaches which are sandy and shallow with an incoming tide and an onshore breeze.

Sit upons are definitely not designed for navigating down Class Two rapids with boulder gardens.”

Related Articles

"Imminent explosive eruption" blows away regatta
Verde Passage Race, Subic Bay, and Oppie Champs all cancelled Subic Bay Around Verde Island Passage Race, Subic Bay Cup International Regatta, and the Subic Bay Optimist Championship all "on hold". Posted on 21 Jan
Missing yachties who issued Mayday calls found
Missing yachties who issued Mayday calls found safe and well in Bay of Plenty Two yachties have been found safe and well in the Bay of Plenty aboard their nine metre yacht this morning after sending out Mayday calls last night. Posted on 6 Jan
BuyAssociation Lipton Trophy
A perfect day for a pursuit race BuyAssociation Lipton Trophy started with picture perfect blue sky, with a consistent 7 to 8kts easterly breeze throughout the harbour. RO Gareth Williams in charge. Posted on 1 Dec 2019
Police advisory on stolen 2011 Stabicraft 389F
Police advise of stolen 2011 Stabicraft 389F is 3.8 metres long - September 11, 2019 New Zealand Police have issued a media advisory warning of a stolen 2011 Stabicraft 389F is 3.8 metres long, and seeking further information on the boat which was stolen on 22nd September 2019 Posted on 18 Nov 2019
Top 10 good conservation manners
What every responsible boats knows. Just a reminder. CIGARETTE BUTTS: one of the most abundant types of garbage in the world's oceans and can take decades to break down. Never ever throw them into the sea – use an ashtray instead! Posted on 20 Sep 2019
Disabled Sailing Thailand fundraiser at Bang Saray
Disabled Sailing Thailand calls for support to set up para sailing in Phuket Disabled Sailing Thailand, a not-for-profit sailing programme that supports and promotes accessibility to sailing for people with disabilities, is seeking support in bringing four S\V14 boats to Phuket. Posted on 10 Jul 2019
TopDog Trophy Series
Third Time Lucky! Finally, after having been abandoned and then postponed due to unfavourable weather, the BuyAssociation Tomes Cup was held on Saturday in Victoria Harbour with 41 boats competing. Posted on 3 Jun 2019
How to wrap up a regatta in style
Good breeze to close out Top of the Gulf with a full card in all classes After the meteorological trials and tribulations of yesterday, everyone needed a break; both the competitors and the race management - and they got it. “God's day,” said PRO Jerry Rollin. “Really all we had to do was blow horns and put up the flags.” Posted on 6 May 2019
Patience is not always a game for one
Topsy-turvy weather at Top of the Gulf Sorry to say that yesterday's Normal Service was less than a flash in the pan. Today was something for the competitors to forget, and an RO should only ever come across in his (or her) worst nightmares. It started innocuously enough... Posted on 4 May 2019
Normal service has been resumed
Sheep in the paddock, white horses on the water A day full of animals, but different ones depending on which part of the world you come from. The Aussies say there are ‘sheep in the paddock', and the Brits talk about ‘white horses'. Posted on 4 May 2019
Protector - 660 x 82RS_Aero_660x82_bottomCollinson and Co