Our safety campaigns

Learn about our latest safety campaign and safety messages for recreational boaties.

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Key safety messages for boaties

‘Nobody’s faster than disaster’

The theme for the 2016-17 summer boating campaign is ‘Nobody’s faster than disaster’. The focus is on one of the main, stubbornly remaining causes of boating accidents – over-confidence or complacency on the water, especially among older men, and now possibly emerging among 15 to 25 year olds on paddle-craft. Accidents happen unexpectedly – and one accident is enough to become a disaster.

The messaging focuses on positive behaviour. It encourages simple things boaties can easily do to help keep themselves, their friends and loved ones safer:

  • Wear your lifejacket. Wearing your lifejacket is the single most important thing you can do to avoid drowning if you end up unexpectedly in the water. Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets.
  • Communications. Carry two kinds that will work when wet. If you can’t call for help then no one can rescue you.
  • Safe speed. There is a five knot speed limit are near the shore, swimmers, divers and other boats. Speeding in congested areas is dangerous and can cause injuries to children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft.

The campaign will include online advertising, extensive use of social media, media releases, and a range of boating activities around the country.

2016 Safer Boating events schedule[PDF: 137Kb, 4 pages]

Artwork from the previous Joe Bro lifejackets advertising will be reused in online advertising with the new “nobody is faster than disaster” wording. There will be additional, new digital material including advertising, videos and social media posts about lifejackets, communications and speed. This will feature presenters from the popular TV3 fishing show Big Angry Fish, Nathan and Milan. Big Angry Fish will also use this new material on their social media to promote safer boating.

The highly successful “Virtual Coastwatch” smartphone advertising will resume over summer. This system recognises when boaties carrying a smartphone go onto the water and automatically sends them a reminder to wear their lifejackets.

Safer Boating Forum members and regional councils are active members of the campaign who, importantly, share its messages with their communities and the people they work with.

$470,000 of safer boating grants

Maritime NZ has announced $470,000 dollars in grants – a major increase in national funding for recreational boating programmes in 2016.

Last year safer boating grants totalled $124,000 and in 2014 they totalled $77,000.

Our aim is to support community programmes that help boaties be safer. Thousands more boaties will now be reached through face-to-face training courses, school programmes, smartphone apps, subsidised “Old 4 New” lifejacket upgrades, and many more initiatives.

The Government provides the funding for safer boating grants from the Fuel Excise Duty on petrol. A proportion of this duty is paid by recreational boaties fueling power boats.

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‘No excuses’ fines for no lifejackets and speeding boats

This summer (2016-17) Maritime NZ and Regional Councils have announced eight councils will be trialing a ‘no excuses’ policy for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets and those who speed on the water.

Boaties who break councils’ lifejacket and speed rules will be given infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each council’s existing bylaws.

The ‘no excuses’ trial will be run for about five days by each council at different times during summer. After summer, the trial will be reviewed and decisions made about whether it will be extended in future.

The councils taking part are: Northland Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Waikato Regional Council, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Tasman District Council, Nelson City Council, Marlborough District Council, and Canterbury Regional Council.

Read more

About our safety strategy

Related information:
There are a variety of lifejackets and personal flotation devices available for recreational boaties.

Getting a lifejacket

The right lifejacket will fit your activities and crew.

See all lifejackets
The Safer Boating guide covers essential information for recreational boaties on the sea, river and lakes of New Zealand.

Safer Boating: An essential guide

This booklet gives you essential information for an enjoyable and safe time on the water.

[PDF: 1.80MB, 48 pages]

Download