Know the conditions on the water this holiday period

19 December 2022

If you are planning on heading out onto the water this summer, make sure you understand the conditions and local bylaws.

Over the holiday period, people in New Zealand will be packing up and heading away.

Around coastal areas, and on rivers and lakes around the country, they will be dusting off boats and recreational crafts to have fun and relax.

Principal Advisor Recreational Crafts Matt Wood, says it is important everyone knows the way of the water before they leave the land.

“Conditions on the water can vary substantially up and down Aotearoa, and it is much better to be prepared than sorry,” he says.

“For example, kayaking in a harbour can be a completely different to kayaking around the coast or on inland waters ways in places near Rotorua and Taupō; where the water flow can be stronger and a different level of experience is needed. “

“It is important if you are looking to jump on the water somewhere you are unfamiliar with, you understand the risks, the level of competency needed, local rules; and of course have a properly fitted lifejacket and two forms of communication,” he says.

Anyone planning on heading onto the water should consider whether they have the knowledge, capability and experience to safely operate any craft they plan on using.

“Inexperience is often a key factor when things go wrong on the water.

“Conditions can easily change, or situations may pop up where you need to think on your feet, and a lack of experience can sometimes lead to poor decisions, and these can result in catastrophic results.

“If you are looking to go over a bar or another challenging situation, think, do you have the right vessel, have you navigated an environment like this before and is there some local information that could help ensure you come home safely after a day on the water,” Matt Wood says.

Local bylaws may also differ around New Zealand, information around the bylaws can be found on the relevant council page.

  • Most water related activities are managed by regional councils. The exceptions being Nelson, Queenstown, and the Department of Internal Affairs managing Lake Taupo. 
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