Maritime NZ launches new campaign following influx of new boaties

Around 300,000 new boaties have taken to the water since the pandemic, triggering those in charge of New Zealand's water safety to knuckle down on sticking to the rules.

A new campaign 'Kia Matara' by Maritime New Zealand hopes to reinforce the boating basics for those embarking on their new pastime.

Auckland's Harbourmaster Marc Davis says life jackets really do save lives when onboard a boat.

"We want to encourage people to be wearing those life jackets, especially when they're underway. They're your first line of defence if something happens."

Maritime New Zealand officer Erin Matara backs the sentiment.

"If you look at statistics, around 55 percent of boating accidents that happen can be prevented and things like lifejackets are crucial, not just having them with you but having them accessible."

Maritime New Zealand and the Auckland Harbourmaster have been doing the rounds, patrolling the Manukau Harbour to check in on how boaties are behaving.

It comes after separate incidents in October ended in tragedy, claiming the lives of five men.

Davis has been Auckland's Harbourmaster for 15 years and told Newshub those who take to the water this summer may be a little too complacent and ill-prepared since getting out of the level 4 lockdown.

"Often we realise too late that it was completely avoidable, a couple of simple procedures that people need to follow to stay safe."

Matara told Newshub Maritime New Zealand's campaign 'Kia Matara' means be aware, be responsible and be vigilant.

"So understand what's ahead of you instead of what you're looking at right now."