Boating Safety Code

Boating Safety Code - Know Before You Go


5 simple rules to help you stay safe:

Before you go boating on our seas, lakes and rivers, get familiar with New Zealand’s Boating Safety Code. Five simple rules will help you to stay safe, no matter what kind of boat you use.


1. Life Jackets

Take them – Wear them. Boats, especially ones under 6m in length, can sink very quickly. Wearing a life jacket increases your survival time in the water.

2. Skipper Responsibility

The skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board and for the safe operation of the boat. Stay within the limits of your vessel and your experience.

3. Communications

Take two separate waterproof ways of communicating so we can help you if you get into difficulties.

4. Marine Weather

New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the local marine weather forecast before you go and expect both weather and sea state changes.

5. Avoid Alcohol

Safe boating and alcohol do not mix. Things can change quickly on the water. You need to stay alert and aware.


Make sure your boat is properly and regularly maintained, has the right safety gear on board and if it has a motor, that it has sufficient fuel.

You should not expect good mobile phone coverage in remote areas. For emergency communications a marine VHF radio is recommended. Use channel 16 for emergencies.

406MHz distress beacons can be hired or bought. Visit

For more information about safe boating education and how to prepare for your boating experience, visit:

Download The Boating Safety Code pdf brochure.


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