Maritime NZ swamped with reports of unsafe boating behaviour over summer

Maritime authorities have been inundated with reports of unsafe boating behaviour over the summer. 

It's prompted a plea for Kiwis to take extra care while they're out on the water this Waitangi weekend. 

It was all go at Wellington's Evans Bay on Saturday morning as powerboaters from all over the country came together for a thrilling day out on the water. 

"We've got a race down here at Wellington Harbour so we hope we can make use of the whole course today," said one keen boatie. 

"There's no other feeling like it, you can't compare it to car racing, which is just going around a track, water is always changing," another said. 

While it may look like fun, it can also be dangerous - which is why they came prepared. 

"We've got all the right safety equipment, they do good checks here," a third told Newshub 

"We've got race life jackets, we've got helmets and intercom so we can speak with each other." 

But it's the unprepared boaties who worry Maritime New Zealand. 

"Over summer, Maritime NZ has received numerous reports of unsafe boating around the country, including several serious collisions," said Matt Wood, the organisation's principal advisor for recreational craft. 

Maritime NZ's Matt Wood says they've had several reports of serious collisions on the water this summer.
Maritime NZ's Matt Wood says they've had several reports of serious collisions on the water this summer. Photo credit: Newshub.

There have been more than 5000 interactions with Maritime authorities since the end of October. 

"What that is showing us is that a number of boaties are not following the rules and they're putting themselves and others in harm's way," Wood told Newshub. 

Grant Nalder has worked as a harbour ranger for more than 20 years and said it's always the same issues. 

"We're still coming across boats without life jackets - which is disappointing - and the other one is the requirement for communications," he said. 

With more Kiwis likely to head out onto the water this Waitangi weekend, people are being urged not to take any risks. 

"Where there have been fatalities, they've all been for the basic reasons - there's no new or flash way to get into trouble, it's not watching the weather and it's not having the right safety equipment," Nalder said. 

"A majority of these incidents are avoidable so we're asking people to know before they go," said Wood.