Be prepared, take appropriate safety precautions, and above all, wear your lifejacket.

That’s the plea from WaterSafe Auckland (WAI) on the eve of Auckland Anniversary Weekend, with thousands of boaties expected to head out on to our beautiful waters.

“It’s been a tragic holiday break for too many families, friends and communities,” says WAI Chief Executive Jonny Gritt. “We commend our rescue services and go back to asking individuals to take a much more active approach to water safety and heed a few simple rules that could save theirs and others lives.”

  • Wear a lifejacket. Make sure there’s one for everyone on board your boat and they wear them, and that children are wearing correctly fitted children’s lifejackets. The new Auckland Navigation Safety Bylaw, now in force, requires all persons on vessels of 6m or less to wear a lifejacket unless the skipper indicates otherwise.
  • If you’re the skipper, remember you are in charge and responsible for all on board.
  • Carry two forms of communication, such as VHF radio, flares or mobile phone.
  • Weather can change quickly, without warning. Stay ahead of it; if in doubt don’t go out.
  • Avoid overestimating your own ability or that of your vessel, watch overloading.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol. On our congested waters this weekend you’ll want to have a clear head to make safe decisions for the safety of yourself and your passengers.

One third of drownings in the Auckland last year were boating related and the toll over the summer holidays was terrible. Don’t become one of the statistics this long weekend. It’s important that everyone takes water safety seriously.

We want to see an aquatically confident Auckland, free from drowning, and urge everyone to play their part, it’s not rocket science. Whatever aquatic activity you are planning this weekend, have fun and enjoy our beautiful waters safely.

Together we can crack it.