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Better To Be Safe Than Sorry, When Planning Trips On The Water Over The Holiday Period

Maritime NZ, and its Safer Boating Forum partners want everyone planning on heading out on the water this summer to keep safety top of mind.

A key goal in the new Safer Boating Forum Recreational Craft Strategy is to reduce the number of preventable fatalities by a quarter over the next two years.

"It is hugely important to plan activities on the water and think of the potential risks. This means understanding the weather conditions, knowing what the rules are in the area you are in and being well-prepared before hitting the water. Going out prepared gives you the best chance possible to come home safely," Principal Advisor Recreational Craft Matt Wood says.

There are approximately two million people participating in recreational craft activities every year in New Zealand. Tragically, on average 17 people die every year while undertaking recreational craft activities. Summer/spring is a particularly high risk period, seeing an increase in the number of people injured and killed while undertaking recreational craft activities.

During the holiday period, people across the country will be heading away to different locations around New Zealand, and sometimes they leave their safety practices at home.

"Before you go out think about the conditions, know the capability of your vessel, whether you have the knowledge and skills to undertake the trip and if you have the necessary safety equipment.

"If the conditions aren’t suitable, it’s not worth the risk. Check the marine weather and understand what it means for the area you looking to head out to. Likewise, there can be different rules around the country, so it’s important to understand what is expected of you as a skipper before you leave the land," Matt Wood says.

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Checkout Marinemate or Metservice for the relevant weather conditions. While you can get information on local bylaws on the websites of the relevant territorial authority.

Most incidents happen suddenly, resulting in people entering the water with little or no warning.

"Wearing a properly fitted lifejacket is the best step you can make to give yourself the best opportunity should you end up in the water unexpectedly," Matt Wood says.

Additionally, on average three quarters of water related fatalities occur in spring and summer.

"Never take a complacent approach when heading onto the water, just because you are on holiday, doesn’t mean you safety should as well.

"Safety starts with preparation. You need to have the proper equipment for the activity you’re undertaking, and know how to use it before hitting the water.

"Improving the knowledge of our recreational users will help to bring more people home safely from days on the water," says Matt Wood.

For information on how to be safe out on the water head to

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