Think about the conditions before going out on the water this weekend

19 January 2024

With wild weather set to impact parts of the country this weekend, Maritime NZ wants recreational craft users to think carefully prior to getting out on the water.

There are several weather watches and warnings up and down the West Coast of the South Island, as well as along the West Coast of the North Island.

"Recreational craft users should only go out if it is safe, if they understand the conditions, have the correct safety equipment and have a suitable vessel for the waters they are traversing," Maritime NZ’s Harm Prevention Lead Recreational Craft, Victoria Slade says.

The warnings and watches in place are for heavy rain and winds in a range of places around the country.

"To get an understanding of the conditions, it is important to check out MetService’s marine weather forecast to understand the risks on the water.

"Conditions on the water can be drastically different to those on the land.

"A light wind on the coast, can often increase on the water.

With heavy rain forecast for part of the South Island, Maritime NZ is strongly discouraging anyone from undertaking recreational craft activities in flooded locations, or on swollen waterways.

"These pose a significant risk. Floodwaters can hide hazards, such as branches or logs, and the flow of a waterway can be deceivingly quick.

"As well as understanding the marine weather forecast, anyone who is heading out on the water needs to be wearing a properly fitted lifejacket, take two forms of communication (such as a beacon and a cellphone).

"Being able to call for help should you get into trouble, is a lifesaver," she says.

Even those parts of the country which have relatively clear forecasts, there are risks when heading out on the water.

"We have seen incidents where people have ended up in the water, a long way from help and unable to call for assistance. A fun day on the water can easily turn to disaster quickly. It is better to be safe than sorry," she says.

Maritime NZ wants people to have fun on the water, but do so in a way to ensures they get home safely to their family and friends.

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