Safety first on the water

Couple on a yacht

New Zealand’s first Safer Boating Week has begun and boat users are urged to make safety the top priority, including wearing lifejackets. Lifejackets must meet a standard. 

October 17 – 24 has been declared Safer Boating Week this year, in what will become an annual focus on keeping boaties safe in the lead up to Labour Weekend – the traditional time to get boats and gear ready for summer.

Members of the National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum, chaired by Maritime NZ, will run a range of activities in the week aimed at getting three simple messages through to boat owners:

  • Prep your boat – prepare your boat and make sure it’s safe
  • Check your gear – check you have the right safety equipment and it’s working
  • Know the rules – and know what to do if something goes wrong.

Announcing Safer Boating Week today (28 August, 2014), Maritime NZ Deputy Director and Forum chair Lindsay Sturt said the week’s activities would be led by Forum members – Maritime NZ, Water Safety New Zealand, NZ Search and Rescue Council, New Zealand Coastguard, Coastguard Boating Education, the NZ Marine Industry Association, and Waikato Regional Council.

'Forum members will be taking a coordinated approach to making sure Kiwis going out on the water have a great time, but above all get home safely. We know one in every three New Zealanders goes out on the water. Messing about in boats is a national passion, but last year 19 people, mainly men, didn’t make it home. So far this year, 14 boaties have already died.'

The Forum recommends lifejackets should be worn at all times on boats less than 6 metres. As part of Safer Boating Week, boaties will be encouraged to check that their lifejackets, boats, and safety gear are in good condition and serviced, and will be reminded that the skipper is responsible for the safety of all on board at all times.

Lifejackets must meet New Zealand standard (NZS) 5823:1999, NZS 5823:2001, or NZS5823: 2005 or another national standard substantially complying with the New Zealand standards. NZS 5823:2005 Specification for buoyancy aids and marine safety harnesses and lines sets out general and specific requirements for the following types of buoyancy aids for surface water use such as boating and water skiing: coastal lifejackets for use in coastal waters; lifejackets for use in sheltered waters; buoyancy vests; buoyancy aid wet suits; buoyancy garments; rescue buoys; float-off buoyancy aids and specialist lifejackets.

Read more on water safety

Buy NZS 5823:2005

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