Get home from the bar this summer!

Thinking about checking out those epic fishing spots just across the bar? From the Manukau and Tairua to Raglan and Waimakariri, Coastguard volunteers responded to a number of bar crossing accidents last summer, several of which saw people not return home to their loved ones. 

This summer, we’re calling for all boaties to get home safely from the bar – even if that means deciding not to cross at all. 

Coastguard Papakura volunteer Chris Laufale said his Unit’s volunteers have responded to numerous preventable tragedies on the Manukau bar over the years. 

“Even for the most experienced boaties like our skippers, crossing a bar requires careful planning, observation and risk assessment. We’re seeing too many risks being taken when crossing bars so are urging boaties to follow our five-step bar crossing checklist this summer,” he said. 

“Crossing the bar because you feel pressured to get home is a recipe for disaster. Know your limits and take your time.” 

Bar Crossing Checklist 

1 – Always wear a lifejacket 

  • Everyone on board wearing a fit-for-purpose lifejacket 
  • Crotch straps for kids’ lifejackets and challenging environments 

2 – Always check the marine weather conditions and the tides 

  • Cross at the highest possible tide, never cross at low tide 

3 – Carry two forms of waterproof communications and log a Trip Report and Bar Crossing report with Coastguard 

  • Log your Trip Report on VHF, *500 or on the Coastguard App so we know where you’re going, when you’re coming back and the number of people on board 
  • Log your Bar Crossing Report on VHF or *500 letting us know when and where you’re crossing. If you don’t close your report within 15-30min we’ll launch our search and rescue procedures 

4 – Stop and observe the bar. If it looks too rough for your abilities, wait for a better time to cross 

  • Notice the sequence of waves, check the surrounding area and conditions 
  • Tie down loose hatches, brief your crew, have someone look out for trailing waves 
  • Keep comms close by and let Coastguard know when you’re safely across the bar 

5 – Seek local advice 

  • Talk to your local Coastguard Unit or local boaties about the bar before you head out 
  • Understand the conditions and what to look for 
  • Ensure your boat is capable of making the trip across the bar and back 
  • Improve your skills with a Coastguard Boating Education course 

Over summer, Coastguard volunteers will be out on the water ensuring Kiwis can enjoy our beautiful waterways safely and with confidence. Do you part and make sure you and your whānau don’t become a statistic this holiday season. If you need to contact Coastguard for on-water assistance, please call *500. For marine emergencies please call 111 or VHF Channel 16. 


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