Room for improvement amongst water craft users after busy holiday period

16 January 2023

The classic kiwi summer holidays started with a number of preventable mishaps on the water, including collisions, vessels overturning and several incidents where people showed a lack of understanding for the rules.

The classic kiwi summer holidays started with a number of preventable mishaps on the water, including collisions, vessels overturning and several incidents where people showed a lack of understanding for the rules.

Over the holiday period between 23 Dec to 9 January there were dozens of incidents reported to Maritime NZ.

The number of reported incidents only tends to be a snapshot of behaviour. Many more incidents tend to go unreported.

The incidents notified to Maritime NZ ranged from minor to quite serious. 

“The majority of these were preventable, and several people were unable to go home uninjured after a planned day of fun on the water,” says Principal Advisor Recreational Craft, Matt Wood.

With plenty of time still left in summer, Maritime NZ doesn’t want these trends to continue.

“We recommend skippers do not go out on the water if they are not adequately prepared to go out on the vessel they are in charge of.

“Overconfidence, can be one of the biggest risk factors on the water.

“There are a range of Coastguard courses to help ensure skippers have the skills and knowledge to head out onto the water safely.

“It is important for people to remember; if they are in charge of a vessel they are legally responsible for keeping themselves, their passengers and other water users safe,” Matt Wood says.

“Going out underprepared puts yourself, your passengers and other water users at risk. To put it simply, it is not worth it.

“You need to carry two forms of communications, have properly fitted lifejackets for everyone on board and check the marine weather forecast prior to leaving shore,” he says.

Maritime NZ recommends those planning on heading out check out saferboating.org.nz for information about how to prepare for a day on the water.

Matt Wood says anyone who sees unsafe actions on the water can report them via maritimenz.govt.nz.

“If you go out on the water thinking she’ll be right. You could injure yourself, others, and Maritime NZ does prosecute those involved in incidents in the recreational craft space.

“Notifying Maritime NZ of an incident isn’t ‘being a snitch’, it is looking out for your fellow water users, and a tool to help keep people safe,” Matt Wood says.

While there were a number of incidents over the two week holiday period, Maritime NZ does want to congratulate the thousands of boaties who were safe on the water over Christmas and New Year. 

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