It is important for you to understand the rules and regulations relating to safe boating and water-based activities in your specific region. Maritime Rule Part 91, the navigation safety rule, provides the foundation for all regional bylaws by requiring lifejackets of the right size and type to be carried, and worn in situations of heightened risk. New Zealand is a unique country, so there are regional variations in local or regional bylaws, however, these variations must remain consistent with Part 91.
Maritime NZ is responsible for navigation safety in some areas in New Zealand, or even parts of areas, eg in Northland, Maritime NZ is responsible for the rivers and lakes, and the Northland Regional Council is responsible for the ocean. Check with the area you are boating in to determine the specific bylaws.
Maritime NZ recommends that all on board vessels under 6 metres wear a lifejacket at all times when underway – especially children and non-swimmers. Maritime NZ also recommends that boaties carry at least two ways to call for help that will work when wet.
The aim of local bylaws is to ensure the safety of waterway users and reduce the conflicts between different water-based activities – whether on lakes, rivers or harbours, and whether you are water skiing, swimming, boating, kayaking, jetskiing, or taking part in other water activities.
Instant fines may be given for offences against a regional bylaw, and for more serious offences you may be prosecuted. For really serious offences, your vessel can be detained or conditions imposed upon its continued use. In addition to adhering to the bylaws, you must meet all other requirements of the Maritime Transport Act. Maritime NZ is responsible for navigation safety in some areas in New Zealand, or even parts of areas. Check with the area you are boating in to determine the specific bylaws.
More information is included in the:
Maritime Transport Act 1994 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]
Local Government Act 1974 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]
Resource Management Act 1991 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]
MarineMate smartphone app
The MarineMate smartphone app has local boating bylaws and information for most New Zealand regions.
Local knowledge is important:
Local knowledge [MNZ's Boatsafetyinnz YouTube channel]
Clips on boating in specific regions:
Northland region [MNZ's Boatsafetyinnz YouTube channel]