New call centre improves on the water help

A new around-the-clock call centre will ensure boaties and water users are safer on the Bay of Plenty’s harbours and lakes over the summer.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Maritime team is switching its maritime duty phones to a call centre to manage all calls. That means that even if the officer on duty is already out on a call, all calls for help or to report a problem will be answered promptly. 

The new system goes live on Wednesday 17 December.

Regional Harbour Master Peter Buell said the call centre would ensure that every call was dealt with quickly, particularly during the very busy summer season.

“The call centre is going to ensure that all of our responses are now logged, and divert a number of non-urgent calls from the people on call so they can focus on the important ones that need to be dealt with promptly to keep people safe,” he said.

Calls to the Duty Officer phones in Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane covered everything from boaties in trouble or others reporting unsafe boating practices to damaged and missing beacons, boat lights out and floating logs which were a shipping hazard.

“Implementing the system will be virtually seamless to the public, as the numbers people need to call remain exactly the same. We know that some people regularly using the harbours and lakes already have numbers for individual maritime officers, but we hope that they call the duty officer number to reduce the pressure on our staff, especially when the water is so busy.

“We also hope people will keep themselves safe on the water this summer, wearing lifejackets, sticking to the speed rules and always having three people when water skiing,” he said.

In Tauranga the Maritime Duty Officer number is 07 928 3385, in Whakatāne 07 308 8570 and in Rotorua 07 9213375. People should continue to report pollution incidents on the water to the Regional Council’s Pollution Hotline 0800 884 883.