Boat-rage video man regrets ‘losing his rag’ at Tairua deputy principal

A man filmed ramming another vessel in a dramatic boat-rage incident at Tairua regrets having “lost his rag” during a heated confrontation with another boatie.

The Herald can also reveal that the man was admitted to hospital after the incident for health reasons.

Described as “affable” and “smiley” by a friend, he has now spoken to police about the altercation.

Video of the incident, which happened the weekend before last, has gone viral, with police and Maritime New Zealand now investigating the altercation.

Police say they are yet to lay any charges.

The video shows an enraged man in an inflatable outboard ramming an aluminum trailer boat at a Tairua boat ramp as he shouts obscenities.

In the moments after the man rammed the boat, his inflatable begins to deflate.

The woman on board the other vessel, Tairua School deputy principal Catherine Browning, then wades towards the man swinging an oar. Children on the boat can be heard crying in the background.

Browning is now facing employment action because of the clash.

Tairua-Pauanui ferry operator Rob Glasgow told the Herald he had known the man, who lives aboard a 14.3m yacht – for about six years and said he had “really good control”.

“He’s a really nice, affable guy – mostly smiley. It’s very rare to see him in a bad mood but obviously this day he’s really lost his rag.

“I’m sure he’s got a temper and we saw it the other day, but it’s not normal at all. He was definitely pushed to the end of his tether.”

Glasgow said the man and his partner were on board their yacht when wake from another boat lifted their vessel out of the water. Its hull crashed down on the inflatable, causing damage to their smaller craft.

“It put a hole in the dinghy.”

Glasgow said like many vessel owners in the area, the man had endured years of problems with speeding vessels whose skippers often ignored the 5-knot limit.

He estimated the man had made about 50 complaints in recent years to the Waikato Regional Council and harbourmaster, but claimed nothing had been done.

The dangerous speeds were “irresponsible”, Glasgow said.

“It’s like running a car down a suburban street with children and only stopping when you hear the bang. It’s not acceptable.”

Glasgow spoke to the man shortly after the incident.

“He was unhappy about the whole thing – that he shouldn’t have lost his temper and shouldn’t have gone over the top.”

The man had also spoken to police last week.

Glasgow said police told the man he was unlikely to be charged over the altercation.

“He said, ‘What about the assault on me with the oar?’ They said, ‘Your assault with the dinghy was much worse and far more culpable under the law’.”

And while the incident was not a good look, one silver lining had been a noticeable decrease in speed by Tairua boaties, Glasgow said.

“It’s definitely modified behaviour.”

Waikato Regional Council’s harbourmaster Richard Barnett said more maritime officers had been deployed on the water this summer.

More than 730 boats had been stopped across the region and enforcement action taken against more than 60 skippers.

While most boaties had been well behaved Barnett encouraged the public to report any poor behaviour.

The Tairua incident appeared to be an isolated one, he said.

“Our focus has been on ensuring people are complying with the rules – while that does include life jacket use, it’s also been about making sure boaties are obeying speed restrictions where they apply, too.”

Browning and the school could not be reached for comment.

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