Recreational Boating Lead for Maritime NZ, Baz Kirk, said survival times are reduced in the cold and boaties need to know the marine weather conditions before they hit the water.

In water, the body loses heat 20 to 30 times faster than it does in air. Some life-jackets provide a little bit of insulation, but you don’t want to be hanging about in the water because the consequences can be fatal,

...Mr Kirk said.

Maritime NZ advises that boaties guard against hypothermia by wearing several layers of clothing.

Boaties should also take at least two waterproof ways to call for help - VHF radio and distress beacons are both great options.

If you can’t call for help, then we can’t rescue you,

...he notes.

And remember the boaties’ ‘golden rule’: If in doubt, don’t go out.

On-water weather conditions can be totally different to the land. It’s easy to be fooled by good weather. Don’t make your decision to go out based solely on what you see out the window. Make your decision using the best info - MetService’s marine weather forecasts could be a lifesaver,

...Mr Kirk said.

Research commissioned by Maritime NZ found that significantly more boaties are checking the marine forecast every time they go out (58% in 2018 vs 52% in 2017).

This figure is low, however, given that 80% of all recreational boaties believe that weather forecasts are ‘important to consider at all times’.

Five simple precautions:

  • Wear your lifejacket
  • Take two waterproof ways to call for help
  • Check the marine weather forecast
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Be a responsible skipper

These simple steps have been agreed on by water safety organisations nationwide, as the most important things boaters can do to reduce odds of having a fatal accident on the water.