Where yachties come from

29 June 2017

In a good summer about half of Kiwis take part in recreational boating and while yachties are not the biggest group, they are experienced and the most qualified on the water according to Maritime NZ statistics.

Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said there are more than 90,000 yachts in the country and many people sail on yachts owned by friends or family.

For those wanting to make a long trip, there is 14,000km of coastline to sail around, and there is also lots of boating on rivers and lakes.

Yachties tend to be experienced boaties (56 % have been sailing for 20 years or more), and are the most qualified (47% have completed a formal boating education course).

The majority of yachties are male (71%), aged 35 years or over (79%; with 34 % being 65+ years) and identify as NZ European (80 %).

Forty percent of yachties live in Auckland, while others reside in Canterbury (15%) and the Bay of Plenty (12%).

Most go sailing in Auckland (46%), but Northland (23%) and the Bay of Plenty (18%) are also popular.

Yachties mostly go sailing 2km or more offshore (43%), between 500m and 2km offshore (39 %) or within a harbour area (37%). The most recent statistics about participation in recreational boating are from one of our hottest summers, 2015-16, when 51% of people said they took part in recreational boating at least once a month.

Mr Manch said the statistics for last summer (2016-17) are not yet completed but even with worse weather they are still likely to show more than 40% of Kiwis took to the water in recreational boats.

“The number of boaties is likely to be increasing over time, allowing for good and bad summers,” Mr Manch said.

“That means more people needing to learn how to be safe on the water.

“The boating code is simple and saves lives:

  • Wear your lifejacket – this is the single most important thing to help boaties stay safe on the water
  • Take two waterproof ways to call for help – if you can’t tell anyone you are in trouble, then no one knows to rescue you
  • Check the marine weather forecast – the weather over the sea is different , especially the wind
  • Avoid alcohol – you wouldn’t drink and drive, don’t drink and sail
  • Be a responsible skipper – know the rules, take some lessons with the Coastguard or a boat club and take care of your family and friends .

The 2015-16 recreational boating research is available below.

Recreational Boating Research Summary - 2016[PDF: 576kB, 18 pages]

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