Recreational boaties urged to be responsible skippers when getting back on the water

13 May 2020

Leading up to COVID-19 Alert Level 2, Maritime NZ wants to make sure skippers of all recreational vessels, no matter how big or small, stay safe. Do this by following the ‘prep, check, know’ message - prepare your boat, check your gear and know the rules before you go out on the water.

Maritime NZ’s Manager, Sector Engagement and Collaboration Baz Kirk says there’s a few simple things that boaties can do to help keep everyone safe.
“We understand the enthusiasm of wanting to get out on water, but skippers need to spend time preparing before they head out.

“Under maritime rules, the skipper is always responsible for making sure everyone on board is safe on the water, and he or she is bound by law to make decisions that are in keeping with that principle,” he says. “That’s why it’s even more critical in the fight against COVID-19 for each one of us to play our part to keep New Zealanders safe. All water users need to know, understand and follow the rules.”

As well as following all public health measures to stay safe at Alert Level 2 including physical distancing, recording where you’ve been and with who, and maintaining good hygiene and cleaning practices, Maritime NZ is urging boaties to practice the five simple precautions from the Boating Safety Code:

  • Wear your lifejacket
  • Take two waterproof ways to call for help
  • Check the marine weather forecast – and if in doubt, don’t go out
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Be a responsible skipper.

“Research shows that these are the most important things you can do to reduce your odds of having a fatal accident on the water,” Mr Kirk says. “They’ve been agreed on by the New Zealand Safer Boating Forum and they’re reflected in all of our safety campaigns. Over two-thirds of boating fatalities may have been prevented if lifejackets were worn.”

Remember, until 11.59pm on Wednesday 13 May 2020, New Zealand remains in Alert Level 3 and some recreational water based activities are restricted, learn more at

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