Appropriate Precautions for Recreational Boating

Aug 12, 2020
By Staff writer

For those with the means, a relaxing boat ride into open water can be an adventurous way to unwind and relax, either by yourself or with friends and family. Recreational boating has been very popular among Kiwis, ranging from jet boating to cruises over the sea. Owning a boat generally requires a large investment, so it pays to take appropriate precautions and safety measures in order to get the most out of your vessel and the joys of recreational boating.

Acquire proper boat insurance in NZ

This is especially important for those who own their own water vessels. Proper boat insurance can help you with liabilities for accidents on the water. It can help you pay for medical expenses in the event that someone gets injured on your vessel, as well as any damages to someone’s property caused by your watercraft.

Boat insurance can also cover you in the event that you sustain any damages from an uninsured vehicle. When taking out to the water in your watercraft, boat insurance is a must-have when boating in NZ.

Establish a float plan

Aside from just taking out boat insurance for your watercraft, it pays to always have a float plan ready before setting out. This includes documenting where you’re heading and where you’re setting sail from. Include all your passengers and other people boarding the vessel with you.  Log your departure date and planned arrival date. Lastly, send it to a trusted relative or friend for safekeeping.

A float plan helps to ensure that someone can start the search and rescue process and inform the proper authorities should you not return at the expected time.

Avoid alcohol

Drinking while driving is very dangerous, but the same can equally apply while out on the water. Many sailors and passengers keep it fairly casual by having a few drinks on the deck, however, keep in mind that operating a boat while intoxicated is illegal under the Maritime Transport Act. Getting caught can result in you getting into a lot of legal trouble.

Not to mention the dangers that the waves, engine noise, wind, and spray can do to an intoxicated state of mind. Boating while intoxicated leads to severe impairment of coordination and reaction time, making it even more dangerous. As a boat owner, you may want to avoid taking “one for the road”.

Pre-boarding safety check

Perform a thorough inspection of your watercraft before you set sail. Make sure that you have a full tank of gas and check if there are any fumes before starting your engine. Also, keep a few safety items on board. Life jackets should be a given for anyone looking to set sail, but don’t forget other essentials like a fire extinguisher, lights and batteries, flares, maps, and a first aid kit.

Keep an eye out for the weather

Weather changes rapidly, more so at sea as extreme conditions can make what is supposed to be a relaxing afternoon on calm waters a terrifying grapple with sudden waves and harsh winds. Stay ahead by listening to forecasts not only on your own locality but also that of your destination. Keep an eye open when it comes to the weather before you set sail, for your own safety and those aboard your vessel.

Be wary of propeller injuries

Propeller injuries often occur after a previous accident such as a collision with another vessel or an inanimate object, which causes one or more passengers to go overboard. It may also happen while inspecting the propeller in the event of damage.

If someone goes overboard, turn the motor and propellers off in order to avoid injury. In the event that nearly everyone goes overboard, your first priority would be to lead everyone away from the boat. Be prepared for a situation like this, but also be sure to remain calm at all times.

Boating in NZ can be a very refreshing recreational activity for you and your friends and family. Thus, if you ever set sail on your own watercraft, always take the necessary precautions before leaving. From acquiring the right boat insurance in NZ for your vessel to making sure all the machinery and safety equipment is in order, taking these steps provides you with the peace of mind needed to fully take in the beauty that New Zealand’s waters can offer.

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