Be safe on the water this Wellington Anniversary Weekend

20 January 2023

Maritime NZ wants people out enjoying Wellington Anniversary weekend to be safe on the water.

Conditions for the long weekend look reasonably good, with forecasted highs in the early-to-mid 20s, brisk winds and a bit of rain. A typical summer weekend for the lower North Island.

Up and down Aotearoa dozens of incidents were reported to Maritime NZ over the Christmas-New Year break, and people in New Zealand tend to jump at the chance to get out on the water over long weekends, such as Wellington Anniversary. The anniversary day is also observed in the Wairarapa, Manawatu and Whanganui.

"Wellington, the Wairarapa, Manawatu and Whanganui all have stunning waterways and we know there will be plenty of people out on them undertaking a range of activities from on a stand-up paddle boarding through to fishing on small boats," Maritime NZ’s General Manager Regulatory Operations, Michael-Paul Abbott says.

"Whether it is close to shore at Petone, fishing off the Wairarapa or kayaking down the Whanganui River; everyone on the water should have two forms of communication, understand the conditions and ensure everyone on board is wearing a properly fitted lifejacket.

"From Whanganui right down to Wellington Harbour and Cape Palliser conditions can be variable, and change quickly, being ill-prepared can have significant consequences.

Maritime NZ has seen many preventable incidents over the last couple of months including incidents resulting in serious injuries.

"Just because you are on holiday mode during a long weekend, doesn’t mean you should take a casual approach to safety," Michael-Paul Abbott says.

Maritime NZ recommends watercraft users undertake courses such as those available through Coastguard to help them prepare for being on the water. Advice is also available at

"Skippers should not leave the shore if they are not adequately prepared to go out on the vessel they are in charge of.

"Overconfidence can be one of the biggest risks on the water," he says.

"We just hope everyone on the water this weekend has a great time with their friends and family and can go home safely at the end of the day," Michael-Paul Abbott says.

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