New boating research: Summer’s coming - keep on wearing lifejackets, get more VHF radios

03 November 2017

With summer approaching, research published today confirms that boaties are doing well and heeding messages to wear lifejackets, though more should have waterproof ways to call for help.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said that the 2017 IPSOS research surveyed boaties’ safety behaviours, participation and uptake of safety equipment.

Maritime NZ also launched a new interactive infographic of the research today on its website which will be a useful safety tool for safer boating organisations, regional councils and the public keen to know more about how boaties behave on the water. 

Maritime NZ Infographic
Maritime NZ © 2017

The research shows more than three-quarters of boaties wear their lifejackets all, or most of the time, on the water, while about half take two waterproof ways to call for help.

“It’s evidence like this that informs the Safer Boating Forum’s* campaigns,” Mr Manch said.

These results also align with the on-the-water observational “No Excuses” survey done last summer by Maritime NZ and habour masters which showed even higher levels of lifejacket wear at 90%.

“This summer we want boaties to keep up their good lifejacket behavior and increase their use of communications, particularly by taking a waterproof VHF radio.

“Lifejackets help you float and unquestionably save lives, but if you can’t call for help, we can’t rescue you. You really need both. A marine VHF radio is usually best and a distress beacon is also vital for most boaties.”

Nearly one in every two Kiwi boaties (1.4 million adults) were involved in recreational boating last summer. In 2014, about a third of the adult population said they were boaties (42% in 2017). 

The most popular craft used by boaties are kayaks (32%) and then power boats under six metres (21%). Kayakers are also the youngest group – 48 percent are aged 18 to 34 compared to 35 percent of people using power boats under six metres.

Mr Manch said it was also positive that annual recreational boating fatalities have decreased in the past two years. The fatalities were: 2014, 27: 2015, 24: 2016: 13 and 2017: 12 to date.

* Safer Boating Forum
The Forum is made up of boating and water safety organisations, the marine industry, and central and local government agencies. It works to reduce boating injuries and fatalities, and improve boat safety behaviour.
Forum members are: ACC, Coastguard Boating Education, Coastguard New Zealand, Drowning Prevention Auckland, Jet boating NZ, Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers, local authorities, Maritime NZ, New Zealand Jet Sports Boating Association, New Zealand Marine Industry Association, New Zealand Police, New Zealand Search and Rescue Council, New Zealand Underwater Association, Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, Waka Ama NZ, Water Safety New Zealand, Whitewater New Zealand, and Yachting New Zealand.

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