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Safe boating education

Whether you are new to boating or already have some experience, we recommend you undertake safe boating education or training. A course, such as those offered by Coastguard Boating Education, will ensure that you have that essential boating knowledge to ensure your safety, as well as compliance with all maritime rules and associated legislation.

Skipper responsibilities

Rules and legislation

While your boat does not need to be surveyed or inspected and you do not need any "official" qualification or licence to operate a pleasure boat (other than a radio operator qualification if you own a marine VHF radio), ignorance of the rules is not accepted as an excuse.

There are many training and education opportunities available to recreational boaties, including courses that can be studied by correspondence. You should aim for a combination of theory and practical training if possible.

Coastguard Boating Education

Coastguard Boating Education offers a wide range of theoretical and on-water practical courses nationwide, from beginner to advanced, to suit all types of boating. These include:

  • Day skipper – an introductory course for all members of the family or crew, including those new to boating. Applies to a wide range of vessels, including yachts, launches, powerboats, jetskis, sea kayaks and waka
  • Boatmaster – a comprehensive course for boaties with some existing knowledge and experience
  • Marine VHF radio
  • specialty courses, such as the sea kayak and engine maintenance modules
  • school programmes
  • more advanced courses covering coastal and ocean navigation
  • Royal Yachting Association courses for sailing and power craft.

Joining your local coastguard is a great way to gain experience and local knowledge.
Coastguard New Zealand [Coastguard New Zealand].

For more information, or to find your nearest Coastguard Boating Education tutor:

Resources for primary schools: Starters & Strategies

Keeping our waters, beaches and coastlines clean [PDF: 407Kb, 2 pages]

Always wear a lifejacket and stay on top [PDF: 1.7Mb, 2 pages]

Being safe in boats [PDF: 842Kb, 3 pages]

It's all about knowing and spreading safety messages [PDF: 1Mb, 2 pages]