Maritime NZ is urging boaties to take safety seriously ahead of what is expected to be a busy long weekend on the water.
Maritime NZ’s Acting Manager Sector Engagement and Collaboration Matt Wood said with warm weather expected across much of the country this Waitangi weekend, boaties are expected to hit the water in large numbers.
“There have been record boat sales and it’s great to see so many people taking the opportunity to get out on the water this summer. But that also means there are a lot of new people out there, with varying levels of experience.
“We are reminding everyone on the water – from stand-up paddlers to jet boaters – to think twice before heading out. Ask yourself have you prepped your boat and checked your gear? Do you know your responsibilities for staying safe on the water?”
“Having a plan and making the right safety choice before heading out on the water is crucial. The decisions you make before you head out will either ensure you are safe on the water or put you and others at risk.
“It’s often time pressure, or being encouraged to follow the advice of friends, that leads to people making bad decisions before they head out on the water. We’re urging people to seek out the right information beforehand instead, such as checking the maritime weather forecast on MetService and the local boating rules on the MarineMate app.”
Maritime NZ has been working with regional councils around the country on the annual “No Excuses” campaign, with hundreds of on-water compliance checks already carried out this summer.
While most are keen to do the right thing, local harbourmasters have identified a range of safety issues, including:
- Not wearing a lifejacket when required
- Use of old kapok lifejackets that are unsafe
- Not being aware of local boating rules.
“While last year there were nine fewer recreational boating fatalities than were recorded in 2019 – we can’t afford to be complacent. Every life lost is a tragedy for their friends and loved ones, who they will never make it home to.
“We’re urging everyone to follow the Boating Safety Code and make sure they keep themselves, and their friends and whānau, safe. There’s no excuses for putting yourself and others at risk.”
The Boating Safety Code has five simple messages:
- Wear your lifejacket
- Take two waterproof ways to call for help
- Check the marine weather forecast
- Avoid alcohol
- Be a responsible skipper
For more tips on how to stay safe on the water, go to www.saferboating.org.nz