Before taking your boat out please ensure you take the time to carry out a pre-summer boating check and take note of Coastguard's key boating safety messages.
As a simple guide, the Boating Safety Code provides 5 rules that will help you to stay safe, no matter what kind of boat you use.
1. Life jackets; take them - wear them
Boats, especially ones under 6m in length, can sink very quickly. Wearing a life jacket increases your survival time in the water.
2. Skipper Responsibility
The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Know your limits and that of your boat and stay within those limits!
Take two separate waterproof ways of communicating so we can help you if you get in to difficulties.
Coastguard strongly recommends that you carry a marine VHF radio and know the distress and local channels. If you are taking a cell phone make sure it is fully charged and put it in a waterproof plastic bag.
4. Marine Weather
New Zealand's weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the local marine weather forecast before you go and expect both weather and sea state changes.
Also, listen to Coastguard's Nowcasting service if it operates in your area.
5. Avoid Alcohol
Safe boating and alcohol do not mix. Things can change very quickly on the water. You need to stay alert and aware.