New Zealand Safer Boating Forum
The purpose of the Forum is to work together to develop and implement a common safety recreational boating strategy for New Zealand and to support agreed boating safety policy, communications, education, compliance and regulation. Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) leads the Forum and works with Forum members to coordinate safe boating activities.
About the forum
The Forum was set up in 2000 to coordinate and implement the recommendations of the Pleasure Boat Safety Advisory Group final report released in 1999.
The report’s recommendations provided the framework to build an integrated New Zealand Pleasure Boat Safety Strategy. The strategy uses a combination of education and targeted legislation to address the key risk factors in recreational boating fatalities.
The four key risk factors identified and targeted by the Forum are:
- failure to wear lifejackets in small craft that are statistically over represented in fatalities (those less than 6 metres in length)
- inability to communicate distress following an immersion-type accident
- bad weather and sea conditions
- alcohol (a significant cause of accidents and fatalities but underreported as a causal factor)
About our current strategy
The Forum members are:
- Maritime New Zealand
- Accident Compensation Corporation
- Auckland Council Harbourmaster’s Office
- Coastguard Boating Education
- Coastguard New Zealand
- Environment Canterbury Regional Council Harbourmaster
- Greater Wellington Regional Council
- Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers
- New Zealand Marine Industry Association
- Ministry of Transport
- New Zealand Fishing News
- New Zealand Jet Sports Boating Association
- New Zealand Police
- New Zealand Search and Rescue Council
- New Zealand Underwater Association
- Queenstown-Lakes District Council Harbourmaster
- Surf Lifesaving New Zealand
- Waikato Regional Council
- Waka Ama New Zealand
- Water Safety
- WaterSafe Auckland
- Whitewater New Zealand
- Yachting New Zealand
In October 2013, the Forum joined national boating authorities from Australia, Canada, France and the United Kingdom as a safety partner to the International Lifejacket Wear Principles. MNZ was a founding signatory to the Principles.
The Principles are aimed at promoting personal responsibility through wearing lifejackets in small vessels and making lifejackets a normal part of any media, publicity or advertising involving small boats. They were agreed in May 2013, following initial development work at the Canadian Safe Boating Council Symposium in 2012. Signatories to the International Lifejacket Wear Principles agree to:
- recognise the fundamental role that wearing a lifejacket plays in protecting people on the water
- recognise the importance of promoting the use of lifejackets when boating
- endeavour to ensure that any publication including brochures, DVD, video and websites will feature all people wearing contemporary lifejackets when in an outside area of a small craft that is underway
- recommend to the recreational boating industry that its publications similarly feature all people wearing lifejackets when in an outside area of a small craft that is underway
- require on-water education and compliance staff to wear lifejackets whenever they are on the water
- use the term “lifejacket” in public information and education
- encourage boating safety networks to become “safety partners” by supporting the above principles.
The Forum is named on the Safety Partner Honour Roll on the LifejacketWear website.
Read about the Forum's position on the use of lifejackets for recreational activities on the water.