Got your lifejackets ready for Anniversary Weekend?

New Zealand, 26 January 2024 - With the Anniversary Weekend weather forecast looking mixed across much of the country, Coastguard is calling for Kiwis excited to hit the water, whatever their waka, to ensure lifejackets are the first item packed for the adventure. With wind and rain also on the horizon for some, keeping an eye on the forecast and preparing for a change in plan will be vital. 

"Wearing a lifejacket is not just a choice; it's a no brainer to help keep yourself and whānau safe on the water,” Coastguard CEO Callum Gillespie said.

"Wearing a properly fitted lifejacket has never ruined a great day out on the water — an essential piece of gear for boating, jet skiing, kayaking, or rock fishing this Anniversary Weekend.” 

With this summer finally bringing some fantastic boating weather, Coastguard volunteers across the country have been kept busy. Over the holiday period, our volunteers responded to 54 urgent, life-threatening, and medical emergencies, in addition to over 300 calls for help for non-urgent assistance with everything from stuck anchors to engine problems. 

“It’s been a record summer so far and we’re loving seeing so many Kiwis out in our big blue backyard doing the right thing and wearing their lifejackets,” Callum continued. 

“However, our volunteers continue to see people taking risks. When something goes wrong out on the water, it happens quickly and when you least expect it. Wearing a lifejacket gives you the gift of time and the best chance of survival for our volunteers to respond when you need us the most.” 

Coastguard’s top tips this Anniversary Weekend:

  • Correct-fitting lifejackets for all. Lifejackets never ruin a day on the water, check there’s one for everyone onboard and make sure they wear them. 
  • Before you push off from the ramp, log your trip! It’s free and easy on the Coastguard app, with Coastguard Radio via your VHF or you can call *500 from your mobile. 
  • Take two forms of water-proof communication. This can include a VHF radio, a fully charged mobile phone (in a waterproof bag), EPIRB, PLB or flares. 
  • Check your local marine weather. Marine conditions can change in a second – make sure you've got the forecast from your favourite spot saved on the Coastguard app.  
  • Make smart choices about alcohol. Things can change quickly on the water, so you need to stay alert and aware. 


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