Safety first crossing the Kaipara bar after Francie tragedy

If in doubt, don’t go out. There are three types of bars on New Zealand coastlines, the Coastguard says – dangerous, very dangerous and extremely dangerous. Coastguard get called to around 15 incidents on bars around the country each year as boats head out to fish deeper offshore waters. The foundering of the Francie on the Kaipara Harbour bar last November, with the tragic loss of eight lives, was an extreme outcome of a fairly common incident. Coastguard Kaipara president Iain Guilliford said the Kaipara bar was easily the biggest in the country, covering nearly 10 km and stretching 8km out to sea. Waves catching up from behind pose the biggest threat coming in. They can lift the rear of the boat pushing the bow under water and causing the boats to skew around and roll, or swamp it. Read the story here 13:46