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Safer Boating Week: 14-21 October 2016

Safer boating

Safer Boating Week on 14-21 October 2016 aims to focus boaties’ attention on key safety messages as they get their vessels and gear ready for the traditional start of the boating season at Labour weekend.

The week will be promoted by the Safer Boating Forum’s sponsorship of national television and radio programmes that model safer boating behaviours (including Big Angry Fish), radio advertising, increasingly important social media channels (Facebook, Twitter etc.), nationally-based safety apps (Marine Mate and MetService Marine), print media, media releases, and promotional events.

Forum members are planning their activities - how they can join in, support safer boating, share ideas, and perhaps take advantage of a marketing opportunity.

For businesses this is a great opportunity to piggy-back on the Forum’s promotions. We are encouraging you to promote your business as a supporter of the week and to link your advertising of relevant products and services to Safer Boating Week. We are also asking businesses and Forum members to work together on promotional events.

The theme for the week will again be “Prep, Check, Know”. That is, prep your boat, check your gear, and know the rules before you go boating. The theme is an umbrella covering all the week’s activity. Different organisations and businesses will focus on different aspects of the theme that are relevant to them.

Our primary audience is men aged 30 to 60, who use recreational boats up to six metres long. Statistically, this is the group most at risk of boating accidents, and particularly at risk of fatal boating accidents.

One specific part of the week will be promotion of changes to maritime VHF radio channels. These changes will be in effect from October 1 this year. More information about the VHF changes will be provided and in the meantime updates are at

We will be providing more information about Safer Boating Week as plans develop.

If you have any questions or need further information, please email

Safer Boating Week 2015 media:

Recreational boating about to start - Prep, Check, Know before getting on the water
23 October 2015


Maritime NZ announces $124,000 safer boating grants
21 October 2015


Link to video broadcast on TV3 news show Story, Tuesday, 20 October 2015. This video communicates safer boating messages very well.
21 October 2015


Wharf jump to launch Safer Boating Week
15 October 2015


10,000 waterproof cellphone bags - free to boaties!
8 October 2015


“Bag Your Cell” - Safer Boating Week
October 16-23


Three steps to ensure your boating safety:


Boat safely – key messages

Wear your lifejacket


Maritime law requires ALL skippers to carry enough lifejackets of the right size and type for everyone on board. We recommend that lifejackets are worn at all times when underway, especially by children and non-swimmers. Lifejackets must also be worn in any situation where there is an increased risk to safety.

More on lifejackets

More on types of lifejackets


Be a responsible skipper


The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Stay within the limits of your vessel and experience. Be considerate to other water users. Keep a lookout, stick to safe speeds and be patient, so that everyone can enjoy the water.

More on skipper responsibility


Communications equipment


A distress beacon (EPIRB or PLB) and a handheld, waterproof marine VHF radio are the most reliable forms of emergency communication. Flares (red handheld, orange smoke and red parachute or rocket) are another useful way to signal that you need help. If carried, cellphones should be inside a resealable plastic bag, but should not be relied on as your only form of communication. Check whether the area you are boating in has cellphone and VHF reception.

More on emergency communications


Check the marine weather forecast


And keep checking the forecast while you are out, using VHF channel 16 or NowCasting on channel 21–23. If in doubt, don’t go out.

More on marine weather



Don’t go overboard on alcohol


Alcohol impairs judgment and balance, and its effects are exaggerated on the water. Consumption of alcohol increases the risk of hypothermia and will reduce your survival time if you end up in the water.

More on alcohol and boating


* About Safer Boating and the Safer Boating Forum

Safer Boating is a Safer Boating Forum initiative. The Forum (formerly called the National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum) was established in 2000 to coordinate and implement recreational boating safety initiatives. It is made up of government agencies and local government, water safety and recreational boating organisations, and the marine industry. The Forum's work is aimed at reducing boating injuries and fatalities and improving boat safety behaviour. Members include ACC, Coastguard, Coastguard Boating Education, Maritime NZ, NZ Marine Industry, regional harbourmasters, Surf Lifesaving NZ, Waikato Regional Council and Water Safety NZ.

More about the Forum and its members