Marine Safety

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Whether you have a kayak, personal water craft, waka, sail or power boat, you must know the rules, have the right equipment, and be a responsible skipper.

Our four key safety messages are based on common factors in recreational boating deaths:

  1. Wear a lifejacket – take the correct sized lifejacket for each person on board, and wear them.
  2. Check the marine weather – check the latest marine forecast and tides before you go out. If in doubt, don’t go out.
  3. Carry emergency communications – have at least two types that will work when wet. Keep them on you.
  4. Avoid alcohol – it impairs your reaction times, ability to cope if something goes wrong, and survival time if you end up in the water.

Our safety messages are part of the Boating Safety Strategy, which uses a mix of education and legislation to reduce the key risk factors in recreational boating deaths.

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Rock fishing is an increasingly popular recreational activity yet it is also one of New Zealand’s most dangerous.

Don’t put your life on the line:

  • Wear a lifejacket – this offers the best chance of survival should you fall into the water.
  • Wear light, warm clothing and sport shoes (not gumboots).
  • Learn to swim and survive in a safe water environment (try wearing your wetsuit and/or lifejacket).
  • Tell somebody where you are going and when you will return.
  • Fish with experienced people and never fish alone.
  • Follow the advice of safety signs.
  • Seek advice about unfamiliar locations from the rock fishing safety advisors and/or surf life saving personnel.
  • Check the swell, weather and tide forecast before choosing your fishing location. The tidal range can be up to 4 metres or more and there is often a swell. Rock fishing is not advised during high swells.
  • Many locations get covered or cut off by the incoming tides, plan an escape route from large waves and incoming tides.
  • Watch the ocean and waves for 10 minutes before moving onto the rock platform.
  • Avoid surf spray or wet rocks that have been swept by spray.
  • Never turn your back on the sea. Be prepared to quickly climb to safety.
  • If a fish or equipment is swept into a dangerous area or the sea, leave it there, don’t climb down to retrieve tackle.
  • Carry a rope, first aid kit, flashlight and a handheld flare.
  • Carry a cellphone in a waterproof plastic bag and call 111 in an emergency.
  • Know how to find help and have a method to contact this help.
  • If in doubt about the conditions or your own ability find a safer location.
  • Avoid alcohol before and during fishing.