Boaties finally able to get back on water after lockdown

Boaties who've been stuck high and dry on shore for almost two months couldn't wait to get back out on the water on Saturday.

Fishing, beer and time with friends were all on the agenda. And maritime police were there waiting for any rule breakers.

Boaties couldn't have dreamed of a more perfect day to get back to the thing they love.

"It was great to get out there and breathe in a bit of fresh air," one told Newshub.

"We planned this for the last few weeks and it's just been hectic so we fuelled up straight away and [got] straight on the water," another said.

Boats that had been locked up in garages for the past seven weeks were finally able to get wet again.

"It nearly didn't start when we got it down here," one boatie told Newshub.

And for their owners, it was a long time coming.

"There's nothing better than the feel of a good snapper on the rod so happy days really," an eager fisherman said.

With Auckland's harbour covered in boats today the Coastguard was prepared for the rush to the water.

"It's packed, there's lots of boats going in and out and a busy day we suspect," Coastguard skipper Brooke Archibald told Newshub early Saturday morning.

By midday, they'd responded to seven jobs - mostly breakdowns and fuel issues.

"There's always going to be teething issues as people start getting back on the water after they haven't used their boat for an extended period of time," Auckland Coastguard operations manager Luke McCarthy told Newshub.

While it seems most boaties have been behaving themselves today it was a busy morning out on the water for the Harbour Master which had to warn several people for breaking speed limits.

Police were also on the water making sure everyone was boating by the rules. And they were.

"Everyone's being compliant, everyone's wearing lifejackets," says Maritime Police Sergeant Garry Larsen told Newshub.

"There's hundreds of boats out there in different bays and people are just interested in enjoying themselves out there in level 2."

In its Budget this week, the Government gave a major boost to water safety, with $60.5 million budgeted to Coastguard and Surf Life Saving over the next three years for new equipment, maintenance and recruitment of fresh volunteers.

With drowning still the leading cause of recreational death in New Zealand, those water safety messages are as important as ever.

"Take your life jackets and make sure you wear them, they're no good if they're just sitting inside the boat," McCarthy says.