19 recreational boaties die so far in 2017

20 December 2017

So far this year 19 people have died in recreational boating accidents, and Maritime NZ does not want that number to increase over the Christmas holidays.

“There are simple, practical steps boaties can take to help keep safe on the water,” Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said.

“Your number one piece of safety equipment is your lifejacket – wear it, not near it. It is too late when you are in the water to try to find a lifejacket and put it on.

“Everyone on board must have a lifejacket of the right size and in good condition, and the skipper is legally responsible to make sure that happens.”

Lifejackets work best together with waterproof communications.

“Lifejackets help you float and have saved countless lives but if you can’t call for help, we can’t rescue you,” Mr Manch said.

“Marine VHF radios and distress beacons are the best communications for boaties.

“A cellphone in a waterproof lanyard bag is okay as a back-up but it should not be your main way of keeping in contact.”

Other important tips for boaties are:

  • check the marine weather forecast, it is different to the land forecast
  • avoid alcohol – you wouldn’t drink and drive, it’s the same on a boat
  • be a responsible skipper – keep a safe lookout and know the rules of the sea.

Recreational boating fatalities background

Regional statistics, 1 January to 20 December 2017:

  • Northland 2
  • Auckland 3
  • Waikato 1
  • Bay of Plenty 6
  • Taranaki 1
  • Wellington 2
  • West Coast 1
  • Canterbury 2
  • Southland 1

Historical statistics

  • 2017 boating research and interactive infographic
  • 2016, 13 fatalities
    2015, 24
    2014, 27
    2013, 19
    Long-term average about 20-22 fatalities per year
  • Up to two-thirds of recreational boating fatalities would likely have been prevented if lifejackets had been worn.
  • 90% of fatalities are men
  • The most at risk age group is 45-54 years Second highest at risk age group 55-64 years
  • Most fatalities occur in small boats (up to 6 metres) in coastal waters (as opposed to on rivers and lakes).

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