Coastguard New Zealand calls for mandatory lifejacket legislation to be passed

Coastguard New Zealand has today called for the urgent passing of legislation to make it mandatory to wear lifejackets on vessels 6m and under.

The call comes in response to the Transport Accident Investigations Commission releasing its report into an incident on the Manukau Harbour on 16 October 2021. A vessel capsized when returning across the bar, unfortunately resulting in the deaths of three of the four people on board.

“This was a tragic event and our thoughts are with the families of the men who died, and the survivor of the incident – we know today will be a challenging day. The report has called for a review of the regulatory systems for the recreational maritime sector. Coastguard New Zealand is supportive of encouraging education in the boating community and we will work constructively with the Ministry and Maritime NZ on this,” said Callum Gillespie, Coastguard New Zealand CEO.

“That said, in this instance and in too many other tragedies, we are certain that if they had been wearing lifejackets, the outcome would have been very different. The report concurs.

“There is a proposed change to legislation with government which would make the wearing of lifejackets to be mandatory in boats under 6m. We strongly support swift action on this as there are inconsistencies across Aotearoa and there are too many people dying on the water on days that should be about creating happy memories, safely.

“We have an incredible team of 2,000 volunteers and too many of them have had to pull dead bodies from the sea. A lifejacket has never ruined a day on the water."

For more information, contact:
Ben Parsons 
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor
[email protected]

Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity