Thousands of dangerous, old and damaged lifejackets have been removed from communities across the country again this summer thanks to Coastguard’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade Campaign.
The campaign proved to be as popular as ever when it toured the country for ten weeks over summer.
In 61 communities across the country Kiwis turned out in droves to upgrade their old, damaged and ill-fitting lifejackets for brand new Hutchwilco models at a discounted price.
Old4New Community Ambassador, Sue Tucker, said that even in its sixth year Old4New still generates buzz in communities around the country.
“Support for Old4New continues to grow. People wait for the campaign each year, not for the discount, but to get boating advice and assistance from Coastguard personnel,” says Sue.
“On Waiheke Island boaties could not get enough of the campaign. We sold over 100 lifejackets in just three hours, we barely came up for air,” recalls Sue. “Christchurch was similar. When I arrived at the location there was a long line of people queued up ready to upgrade their lifejackets. It was absolutely amazing.”
Sue Tucker and local boaties in Houhora.
Old4New is a vessel of delivery that takes education to the people, encourages safer boating and starts important conversations about preparedness and wearing the right lifejacket for specific types of boating.
“More Kiwis are now looking to buy fit-for-purpose lifejackets which is a huge shift in the attitudes surrounding lifejacket wearing and use,” says Sue.
Many of the lifejackets traded in were 40 years or older. Whilst the average age of upgraded lifejackets was worrying, what is even more concerning was that a percentage of those were also filled with kapok – a fluffy plant fibre similar to cotton which can absorb water, seriously effecting a lifejackets ability to float and keep the wearer safe in an emergency.
If Kiwis could not make it to the van, the Old4New discount was once again honoured in 24 Boating and Outdoors retail stores across New Zealand.
Coastguard New Zealand CEO, Callum Gillespie, says the convenience of the campaign has continued to encourage people to make the most of the Old4New upgrade, but there is still a long way to go before Kiwis are making smarter and safer boating choices every time they go out on the water.
“Whilst we see boaties of all ages making the most of the initiative, this year we saw more men aged between 35- 50. Statistically this is the demographic most likely to get into trouble on the water, so our messages are getting through. However, there is still more to be done, we want to get to a place where wearing your lifejacket when boating is as natural as wearing your seatbelt when driving.”
Thanks to Coastguards key campaign partners Maritime New Zealand, Hutchwilco, Giltrap Volkswagen and Boating and Outdoors, over 15,000 Kiwis have become safer on the water over the last six years of the Old4New Campaign.
Old4New by the numbers:
• 2,729 new lifejackets
• 10 weeks
• 61 van stops
• 8,970 kms travelled
• 24 Boating and Outdoors stores
• Over 15,000 Kiwi’s safer on the water since 2014