Images from Project Janszoon webcams at Anchorage and Awaroa in Abel Tasman National Park are being used to keep an eye on boatie behaviour.
The move comes after some unsuspecting occupants of anchored boats have been thrown overboard by the speed and wake of passing vessels.
Tasman District Council harbourmaster Dan Cairney said he had received many complaints from boaties anchoring in those areas about passing boats.
“Wake from speeding boats has been an issue for the up to 100 boats anchoring in the Anchorage bay for many years,” he said.
The main problem was that the boats were in anchorage, sheltered from most of the prevailing sea and wind conditions so the occupants were surprised when their boat was hit by a metre-plus wake from a large vessel.
“This has led to incidents and accidents where occupants of anchored boats have been thrown overboard, suffered from burns and scalds from tipped over stove-top contents, fallen over on board and been otherwise injured,” Cairney said.
A council presence in the area wasn’t possible day and night, which was why the Project Janszoon team was asked for access to the cameras to help monitor public safety.
The Department of Conservation was also approached to ask for its backing of the proposal to use the existing Project Janszoon cameras.
“We received great support for the idea and now we have 24-hour access to the imaging,” Cairney said “At this stage, we have set up the system such that we receive 30-second screen shots of Anchorage that are time and date-stamped so even if we are not watching the camera, we can go back through the footage to look for and identify any potential safety concerns, which we may need to follow up on.”
Project Janszoon director Bruce Vander Lee said its four webcams in Abel Tasman National Park were popular, with hundreds of people viewing them every week via its website.
“We are delighted they can also be used to promote safe boating at Anchorage and Awaroa,” Vander Lee said. “We know residents and visitors were concerned about boat speed in these popular spots and the feedback we are getting is skippers are behaving in a safe manner so that is great to hear.”
Project Janszoon was using technology through its solar-powered WiFi network “to support the ecological transformation of the Abel Tasman and to connect with visitors; sharing the park’s conservation story through the Abel Tasman app and engaging with the communities that enjoy the park”.
It is a privately funded trust, set up to restore and preserve Abel Tasman’s wildlife. Project Janszoon is a team effort involving conservationists, iwi, local residents, scientists, tourism operators and volunteers.