As a coastal country it should be no surprise that approximately one in every seven Kiwis owns a boat or small pleasure craft.

And in summer 2020-2021 we can expect there to be even more boats in our waters.

Globally, restrictions on overseas travel has led to an increase in boating as an activity. New Zealand is no different, with sales surging between June to November as Kiwis returned to enjoy boating as a pastime post-lockdown.

So, if you’re a new boat owner this summer what do you need to know to keep both your new asset, and yourself, safe on the land and the water? The Insurance Council has put together the following tips to help you this summer.

Insuring your boat or small pleasure craft:

  • Having insurance is really important to help cover you against loss or damage and for liabilities you incur while out on the water
  • Personal pleasure craft insurance is available for yachts, launches, jet-boats and jet-skis. Call your insurer to understand what cover is available, and check our our Marine Insurance page for more information
  • Insurance for smaller self-powered craft, like kayaks, paddleboards and inflatable row boats, are normally covered under your contents insurance – be sure to check with your insurer to make sure you have the right cover in place.

Keeping safe on the water:

  • If you’re new to recreational boating, make sure you complete your local Coastguard boating course and obtain your Day Skipper certificate so you know how to keep safe on the water – find out more about a course near you on the Coastguard website  
  • If you’re heading out on the water this summer you need a plan of action-no matter how experienced you are. Knowing the local conditions before you head out will help keep you and others safe while being free to enjoy your experience. Make sure you have a plan and  ‘Prep, Check, Know’ before going out on the water and ensure your maintenance is up to date – check out www.saferboating.org.nz for more information
  • Download a mobile app to help you keep safe on the water: “MarineMate” is a smartphone app that allows you to access information on tide times, boat ramp locations, VHF channels, and local boating rules for the whole country.  You can download MarineMate, Metservice Marine and the Coastguard app from the Maritime NZ website
  • Follow Safer Boating social media channels on Facebook and Instagram

To deter burglars:

  • A significant number of trailered boats are stolen from residential front yards and driveways, so, if you can, store trailered boats out of view from the road and driveway
  • Chain and lock boat trailers to an immoveable object such as house foundations or a concrete-set steel ring
  • Use boat trailer wheel clamps
  • Use purpose-security locks for the outboard motor. Outboard motors, particularly the newer models are frequently stolen regardless of how heavy they are
  • Remove auxiliary motors from the boat and all gear if the boat is stored out in the open
  • Record serial numbers and any identifying features of your boat including motors and trailers.  Unique identifying features that will not be obvious to thieves should be recorded.
  • Keep digital photographs and cell phone images.
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