$844K grants – biggest ever increase in funding to build ‘safer boating culture’

09 July 2020

Maritime NZ has announced $844,249 in funding for 22 safer boating initiatives throughout New Zealand – the most ever distributed – with the aim to reduce recreational boating fatalities and injuries.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch said Maritime NZ is thrilled to be able to provide this funding, which is drawn from the Fuel Excise Duty (FED) on petrol, reflecting that boaties contribute to this fund through their activities.

The grants provide crucial funding for organisations involved at the grass-roots building safer boating culture across New Zealand communities, he said.

“It’s an investment – teach someone to boat safely and you’re protecting their family and friends too.”

Included are some innovative approaches to promoting safety on the water including jetski training for people in the upper South Island, greater engagement with boaties through the Old4New lifejacket upgrade campaign and expansion of community ‘lifejacket hubs’, where people can loan a lifejacket for a gold coin donation.

Mr Manch said a collaborative approach is being taken with $80,000 allocated to the on-water No Excuses campaign with 18 councils participating. The campaign sees Maritime NZ and harbourmasters interacting with boaties to promote lifejacket wearing and safe speed.

He said the grants are a significant part of the wider safer boating campaign. Other aspects of the increased investment include a greater on-water presence and support for the collaborative work Maritime NZ is doing as part of the Safer Boating Forum. The forum is made up of 24 member organisations with an interest in reducing injuries and fatalities on the water.

Thanks to the grant funding, there are many opportunities for boaties to take their skills to the next level, including community training programmes through Coastguard New Zealand, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, NZ Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Nelson City Council, Waka Ama, Sport Bay of Plenty, Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers and Yachting NZ and more.

The grants provide continued support for boating education for Pasifika communities through Coastguard Boating Education’s ground-breaking Folau Malu programme, which has seen community members complete a Coastguard NZ day skipper course. The course continues to go from strength to strength with huge demand.

Coastguard NZ’s Old4New – the campaign to replace unsafe old lifejacket with new ones – is now in its seventh year and bigger than ever. This year will see an extra van on the road, with one crew in the North Island and one in the South offering heavily discounted lifejackets to those who upgrade their old or damaged lifejackets.

To date, the programme has removed over 15,000 lifejackets from circulation in New Zealand communities. These jackets have been replaced with by brand new, fit for-purpose Hutchwilco lifejackets sold at a discounted price. The vans will also be on the road over the 4-week school holiday period between mid-December and mid-January, visiting more locations.

Grant summaries

Council/Organisation Programme Funding
18 participants:
Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Buller District Council
Gisborne District Council
Tasman District Council
Northland Regional Council 
Greater Wellington Regional Council
Environment Canterbury
Lake Taupo (DIA) (self funding)
Environment Southland 
Auckland Council
Nelson City Council
Hawkes Bay Regional Council
Queenstown Lakes District Council
Taranaki District Council
Horizons District Council
Marlborough District Council
Otago Regional Council
Waikato Regional Council (self-funding)
‘No Excuses’ on-water campaign
On-water campaign targeting high-risk factors in recreational boating fatalities, in particular lifejacket wearing and safe speed.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council
Peter Buell, BOP Harbourmaster
Jacqui Sinclair, Maritime Officer
Safer Boating student programme and boat ramp education. Continuing the work started with the Towards Zero programme and continue to grow and improve the safe boating priorities in the Bay of Plenty. $60,000
Coastguard Boating Education - Folau Malu
Jason Rowledge, General Manager
Folau Malu (Journey Safely) – Pasifika Boating Education
Continuation of an existing programme – education for 120 Pasifika boat users on Coastguard NZ Day Skipper course, survival course and VHF radio operator certificate.
Coastguard NZ
Aoife Healy, Community Engagement Manager
Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade Campaign
Continuation of Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade campaign offering heavily discounted lifejackets and PFD’s to those who upgrade their old or damaged lifejackets across NZ. This year’s funding provides an additional Old4New lifejacket upgrade van – one based in the North Island and the other in the South.
ECAN – Environment Canterbury
Navigation Safety Officer, Gary Manch
Canterbury Safe Boating Programme
The programme will target skipper responsibility, including speed, lifejacket’s and boating behaviour through radio, social media, face to face at boat ramps and camping areas
Environment Southland
Ian Coard, Maritime officer
Safer Boating Promotions
On-water and boat ramp checks targeting skippers' safe boating knowledge and responsibility, waterproof communication and safety equipment, wearing lifejackets and checking marine weather forecasts.
Greater Wellington Regional Council Grant Nalder, Harbourmaster
Be safe, Be heard, Be seen
Re-enforce basic safety messages, importance of communication and promotion of further training and education. The funding also will assist with in-person engagement with boaties on and off water contact.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council
Martin Moore, Harbourmaster
Recreational Boating Safety Education
Safer boating education in local schools (for up to 12 years old).
Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK)
Shaun Maclaren
Meet the People Roadshow
A continuation of the ‘road show’ format instigated last year – travelling to different town centres/regions to provide kayak safety advice and training. The programme is expected to run in Northland, Auckland, Tauranga, Taupo, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.
Marlborough District Council
Luke Grogan, Harbourmaster
Safer boating drone trial
Three-day trial utilising an industrial drone equipped a high definition camera and loudspeaker will to provide messages, comment and instruction to harbour users in specific locations. The primary focus will be on vessels operating in high risk mixed use areas of the harbour at unsafe speeds. Trial will only proceed following confirmation it will adhere to drone use regulations.
Summer personal watercraft training
Marlborough District Council Harbourmaster will run 10 PWC (personal water craft/jetski) training days over Summer 2020/2021 with the overall aim of promoting good safe boating practices under the umbrella of ‘skipper responsibility’
Nelson City Council
Mandy Bishop
Manager Consents and Compliance
Responsible recreation
The programme will target skipper responsibility – boaties know what to do to ensure they and others are safe on the water.
Northland Regional Council
Natasha Stubbing and Peter Thomas
petert@nrc.govt.nz    natashas@nrc.govt.nz
Be a safe boatie campaign
Continuation of the established campaign. Main focuses include skipper responsibility and the use of required safety equipment. Additional focus on the personal and paddle craft groups will be included to establish safe habits and behaviours as this sector grows.
NZ Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Bill Dawes, Safety Officer & Training Officer
SUP SAFE is a nationwide education programme
Campaign targeted at stand up paddle boarders to increase safety behaviours. It addresses safety knowledge gaps around lifejackets, communications equipment and paddling in unfamiliar locations among other topics.
NZ Underwater Association
Andrea McFarlane, Executive Officer
Survive the Dive programme
Provide diver safety advice in an interactive format. Key topics include: health and fitness, medical checks, training, refresher courses, equipment checks and maintenance, diver best practice, boating safety and on-water best practice.
Queenstown Lakes District Council
Regulatory Manager, Anthony Hall
Lakes and River User Education Enhancement Plan 2020/2021
New signage to cover all aspects of lake and river use, including basic rules and expected on-board communications. Brochures and radio advertising on the local rules is proposed to accompany new signs.
Sport Bay of Plenty (on behalf of Water Safety Bay of Plenty)
Dave White, Bay of Plenty Regional Water Safety Strategy Manager
Boating education campaign
Focus on pushing boating education and Coastguard membership during Water Safety Month 2020 (Oct-Nov). Workshops, training sessions and events are planned focused on educating boaties. Sessions will be held with Coastguard Eastern and Coastguard Boating Education.
Tasman District Council
Dan Cairney, Harbourmaster
Harbourmaster summer student, increasing on water patrol hours
On water patrol hours in high use recreational boating areas of the Abel Tasman National Park and the Nelson Lakes National Park.
Summer Enforcement Officer
Grant enables employment of a full-time summer enforcement officer.
Waikato Regional Council
Kelly Thomson, Marketing & Project Advisor
MarineMate app
MarineMate is a smartphone app that provides information on tides, boat ramp locations, VHF channels, and local boating rules for the whole country. The funding provides for further development and promotion of the app.
Waka Ama NZ
Lara Collins, Chief Executive
Waka Ama Safety Workshops
Delivery of online safety workshops commencing around August. The course is available to all waka ama paddlers who are affiliated to a Waka Ama NZ club. There are 90 clubs from Kaitaia in the north to Invercargill in the South. This course is also available to non- affiliated paddlers, which does include schools, outside organisations such as marae and iwi.
Watersafe Auckland Inc (Drowning Prevention Auckland)
Sam Gunther, Business Manager
Lifejacket Hubs / Lifejacket Loan Scheme / Lifejackets for Education
Drowning Prevention Auckland, in partnership with local boat clubs, surf club, community and church organisations, will provide five hubs (with the aim to add three more) where people can access lifejackets.
Yachting NZ
Raynor Haagh, National Sport Development Director
Volvo Sailing… Have A Go!
A training programme that provides a unique opportunity for children aged 8 to 14 years to experience the thrills and spills of sailing while building confidence, encouraging independence, teaching tolerance and teamwork as well as engaging them in our marine environment and promoting water safety.

Notes to Editors

  • The Government provides the funding for safer boating grants through money collected from the Fuel Excise Duty (FED) on petrol. A proportion of this duty is paid by recreational boaties fuelling power boats. Some of this money is provided to Maritime NZ and used to support recreational boating safety initiatives including regional programmes focused on promoting safer boating.
  • FED funding provides support funding for campaign initiatives based on priorities decided by the NZ Safer Boating Forum. The Forum is made up of boating organisations, the marine industry, and local and central government agencies. It has led the campaign over the last two decades through partnership activities to reduce the number of fatalities on our waters.
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