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Published: 2013-12-09 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council’s harbourmasters will be out on some of our busiest waterways over the festive season and have put together the top five safe boating ‘must dos’ for summer.

Harbourmaster vessel“While you’re enjoying the holiday season, our harbourmasters will be on the job patrolling our inland and coastal waterways,” said navigation safety programme manager, Nicole Botherway. 

“Harbourmasters will be focusing on spreading the word about the new lifejacket rules which are aimed at keeping everyone safe when out on the water. 

“In a boat, the skipper is responsible for the safety of everyone on board, which includes making sure lifejackets are being worn.

“If you’re in a vessel that is six metres or less and you are not at anchor, everyone on board needs to put on a lifejacket that is a good fit for them. This rule applies to all types of vessels, including power boats, kayaks, dinghies, yachts and jet skis,” Mrs Botherway said. 

The following are the top five safety tips from the council’s harbourmasters for people on the water over summer: 

  1. Wear a lifejacket – make sure it is a good fit and securely fastened.
  2. Carry communication devices – check for coverage and make sure they are waterproof so you can get help when you need to.
  3. Avoid alcohol and boating – save it until you’re back on dry land.
  4. Check the weather, tides and swell before you head out – it’s better to know what is happening than playing roulette with people’s lives.
  5. Use the 1/3 - 1/3 - 1/3 rule with your fuel – a 1/3 for your trip out, a 1/3 for the trip home and a 1/3 just in case. 

Mrs Botherway also encouraged water users to download the new MarineMate app so they can access critical information from the palm of their hand. The app is available free from the app store for any iPhone or Android device. 

Anyone unsure about Waikato’s navigation safety rules can contact their local harbourmaster by calling 0800 800 401. Information is also available on the regional council’s website at