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Save your life this Labour Weekend, check the forecast

Maritime NZ is reminding boaties heading out on the water this Labour Weekend that checking the marine weather forecast could save their lives.

Fifty eight percent of Kiwi boaties say they check the marine forecast ‘every time’ prior to heading out (up from 52% in 2017), according to the latest Ipsos research released this #SaferBoatingWeek.

“We want the other 42% of boaties to check the weather every time they hit the water too,” said Safer Boating Forum chair and Maritime NZ Deputy Director Sharyn Forsyth. “Fire up your phone, computer or VHF radio, check the forecast, come back alive.”

Many Kiwi boaties have discovered it’s easy to know the conditions on the water MetService’s MarineMate app, which has seen over 260,000 installs. The app is free - providing massive value for no money.

“As Crowded House said, ‘you can take the (marine) weather with you’ – even in your pocket.” Forsyth said.

“The app is free, your life is priceless – so spend two minutes and get it on your phone. Your loved ones will thank you!”

Forsyth reminded boaties that New Zealand weather can change at the drop of a hat. “The best time to check the forecast is just before you head out. There’s a big difference between a blue skies scorcher and a grey day of torrential rain and gale force wind.

“The marine weather forecast provides key information that tells you how to prepare – or whether to head out at all!”

Failing to check forecasts to avoid boating in bad weather and sea conditions is one of four key risk factors for Kiwi boaties, identified by the Safer Boating Forum. Forum research showed that weather conditions – including swell and tides – were a significant factor in 47% of recreational boating fatalities.

While MetService is predicting a settled Labour Weekend, weather can be changable.

Weather at sea will often differ from what’s happening on the land, so it’s critical boaties check the marine forecast before setting out, said MetService GM meteorological operations Ramon Oosterkamp.

“MetService delivers a boating forecast for the coming seven days which is essential for planning ahead and for longer trips. Having information in advance gives you the option of altering your plans or waiting for better conditions.”

“Checking the marine weather forecast should become a solid new habit for all boaties. It will see you right over the summer boating months.”

Where to check the weather

The most convenient sources of marine forecasts, including the 5-day outlook are:

MetService’s Marine Weather app - available for Apple and Android phones:

MetService’s website -

VHF radio – the Maritime NZ maritime radio service provides forecasts announced on channel 16 – call at 0533, 0733, 1333, 1733 and 2133 hours

Coastguard on VHF radio channels 20, 21, 22 and 23, including the “NowCast” continuous broadcasts in many recreational boating areas

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