Recreational boating research

Maritime NZ undertakes a number of different items of research to understand the behaviours, risk factors and latest figures and statistics on recreational boating in New Zealand.

Maritime NZ supports the principles of New Zealand’s open government data project to increase the openness and transparency of the Aoteaora NZ government.

Recreational boating fatality report

Each year a number of people die while participating in recreational boating, an activity pursued for enjoyment, or for the benefit of friends or family.

Maritime NZ has compiled in report evaluating the key contributing factors into 92 recreational boating accidents between January 2015 and December 2020. The accidents claimed 98 lives between them.

Each accident is tragic and has its own unique set of circumstances, but the common factors across these accidents can help highlight ways that similar deaths may be prevented in the future.

Recreational Boating Fatality Report – 2021 [PDF: 961kB, 19 pages] Recreational Boating Fatality Report – 2015-2020 [PDF: 3.3MB, 63 pages]


Recreational boating literature review

In early 2021, Maritime NZ commissioned a Recreational Boating Literature Review titled: Boating Competency and Safety Decisions.

This work was undertaken by Associate Professor Mike Brown, Auckland University of Technology, Associate Professor Mike Boyes, University of Otago, and Mr Rob Hewitt, Liveit Enterprises.

The review focused on understanding what additional competencies should be included in a model that expands from water competency to boating competency, and what were the main factors affecting people’s decision making around safety on boating trips.

Recreational boating literature review - 2021 [PDF: 1.54MB, 61 pages] Watch rec boating literature review video [Vimeo: MP4, 18 mins 17 secs]


Recreational boating research conducted by Ipsos New Zealand

Since 2014 Maritime NZ has been undertaking research into recreational boating.

Research NZ conducted the recreational boating research in 2014 and 2016.

From 2017 to 2020, Ipsos New Zealand has conducted the survey annually, before a shift to quarterly surveys from quarter 1 in 2021.


Ipsos quarterly recreational boating research

Since 2017 Ipsos New Zealand has been undertaking the Recreational Boating Survey for Maritime NZ. This took place once a year, after the busy boating season of summer. The survey asks questions about recreational boat ownership and use, recreational boating information sources, and perceived recreational boating risks.

In 2021, Ipsos and Maritime NZ recognised the benefits of surveying more often and began running surveys on a quarterly basis. See below reports from the surveys completed to date.

2023 reports

Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q2 2023 [PDF: 3Mb, 100 pages] Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q1 2023 [PDF: 2.7MB, 40 page]

2022 reports

Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q4 2022 [PDF: 2.7MB, 40 pages] Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q3 2022 [PDF: 2.64MB, 43 pages] Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q2 2022 [PDF: 2.74MB, 83 pages] Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q1 2022 [PDF: 2.62MB, 47 pages]

2021 reports

Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q4 2021 [PDF: 2.31MB, 53 pages] Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q3 2021 [PDF: 2.19MB, 41 pages]

Annual report 2021, includes Quarters 1 and 2

Recreational Boating Monitor - Report Q1/2 2021 [PDF: 2.43MB, 43 pages]


Historical research

Ipsos 2020

Interactive infographic

Recreational boating research - 2020 [PDF: 3.14MB, 35 pages] On-Water Survey 2019/20 - Data summary [PDF: 746kB, 4 pages]



Interactive infographic

Recreational boating research - 2019 [PDF: 5.71MB, 49 pages]



Interactive infographic

Recreational boating research - 2018 [PDF: 4.57MB, 39 pages]



Interactive infographic

Print version infographic [PDF: 1.25MB, 10 pages] Recreational boating research - 2017 [PDF: 3.72MB, 35 pages] On-the-water survey - 2017 [PDF: 144kB, 9 pages]


Recreational Boating Research Summary - 2016 [PDF: 576kB, 18 pages]