As such, Maritime NZ summarized five simple things to help keep safer in boats:

  • Wear your lifejacket – this is the single most important thing to do to help keep yourself safer on the water.
  • Take two waterproof ways to call for help – if you can’t call, then no one can rescue you.
  • Check the marine weather forecast – it is not the same as land and general forecasts, the weather will be different on the water.
  • Avoid alcohol – you know not to drink and drive, it’s the same on a boat.
  • Be a responsible skipper – the skipper is legally responsible for the safety of the boat and everyone onboard.

If they(skippers) do not have lifejackets they can be fined and can be prosecuted but, in the most tragic situation, no court penalty will ever match the death of a family member or a friend on your boat,

...said Safer Boating Forum Chair, Maritime NZ Deputy Director Sharyn Forsyth.

Kapok-filled lifejackets should not be used at all. They have not been made since the 1980s and, even if they look brand new and have been well looked after, should be replaced and destroyed.

Simple tests for other styles of lifejackets to do every time before you go on the water:

  • Pull the straps, hard. If any of them stretch or tear, do not use the lifejacket, dispose of it, and replace it.
  • Check for any existing tears or cuts in the straps. If there are any, do not use the lifejacket, dispose of it, and replace it.
  • Check for any tears, cuts, or punctures in the lifejacket. If there are any, do not use the lifejacket, dispose of it, and replace it.
  • Check if it floats.