Top 10 tips when heading out on the water this Summer …

Summer is upon us and as the weather hopefully improves we want to help ensure everyone stays safe whilst out on the water.

Boat Checks

  • Engine service and visual check before leaving
  • Fuel – rule of thirds; plan to use a third of your fuel for the trip out, a third for the trip back, and have a third in reserve for unexpected events. Change the fuel if it is old.
  • Battery – after sitting unused over the Winter period, batteries can easily run flat after a couple of starts. Make sure you have checked your battery and that it is capable of running all the electrical equipment on your vessel
  • Overall ‘once over’ – start in one place and work your way around checking for any damage inside or out

Skipper Responsibility

As the skipper, it is your responsibility for everyones safety whilst on the vessel. Make sure everyone is aware of this and stay within the limits of your vessel and experience.


Boating and alcohol do not mix! You need to be alert, things can change quickly when out on the water.

Safety Equipment

Safe boating is essential, we recommend that you carry the following equipment to ensure your boating experience is as safe as possible; anchor, spare fuel, secondary propulsion, boat hook, bucket, torch, flares, knife, throw rope, fire extinguisher, first aid kit and an EPIRB.

Life Jackets

Ensure that you have a properly fitting life jacket for all people on board your vessel.
Under Canterbury boating laws, life jackets must be worn at all times on any craft less than 6m in length. We recommend that you wear them all the time.


Ensure you have at least two methods of water proof communication. We recommend having a VHF radio and a cell phone in a water proof bag.
Lyttelton and Banks Peninsula Coastguard radio channels are 63 and 04
Maritime Radio can be contacted on channel 16 or 68.

Weather Forecast

As we all know the New Zealand weather can be unpredictable. Make sure you have checked the weather forecast before heading out on the water.
Marine weather forecasts are available on the MetService website or can be listened to on Coastguard NowCasting Weather information channel 19 in the Canterbury region.

Trip Report

Lodge a trip report (TR) with Coastguard radio Channel 63 or 04 or why not download the Coastguard App. A trip report should include the name and callsign of your vessel, where you are departing, your destination, estimated time of arrival (ETA) and the number of persons on board.

Local Area Knowledge

To make your day as enjoyable as possible, plan your trip. Remember that hazards can change out on the water and some cannot be seen. Plan a route on your GPS and always carry paper charts.
The LINZ website has up-to-date information on any matters that may affect Navigational Safety.


Become a Coastguard member for just $115 per year! Have peace of mind that if you do unfortunately come in to difficulty whilst out on the water that free assistance (T&C’s apply), is one of the many benefits you will receive as a member.
You can join up online or speak to one of our volunteers.

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