The Ipsos 2018 Recreational Boating Survey canvassed adult members of the general public regarding their boating habits. It examined the extent to which the population participates in recreational boating activities, with a focus on safetyrelated attitudes and behaviours, and awareness of Maritime NZ’s recent recreational boating safety campaigns and related activities.

Maritime NZ Deputy Director (and Incoming Chair of the Safer Boating Forum) Sharyn Forsyth says the results are encouraging.


  • 1.5 million adults (42% of New Zealanders) were involved in recreational boating last year
  • Kayaks remain the most popular craft used by boaties (33%), followed by power boats under 6m (22%), and dinghies (11%)
  • Last year 19 people died in recreational boating accidents. Of these, 18 were men – 14 over 40 years (the highest fatality group)
  • The percentage of boaties having at least two ways to signal or call for help if needed ‘every time’ has risen to 43% in 2018 from 38% in 2017
  • The decision to avoid alcohol ‘every time’ either before or during time on the water has risen from 61% in 2017 to 67% in 2018“It’s fantastic to see that 92% of boaties say that boating safety is personally important to them because attitude influences behaviour. The decade spent by the Safer Boating Forum and councils promoting safer boating is really increasing boaties’ safety awareness.”

    Lifejackets remain the most prevalent form of safety device taken on boating trips and the number of boaties wearing their lifejackets on the water all or most of the time remains stable at 75%.
    “Most encouraging are the significant increases from last year in the three other risk areas – checking the weather, taking communications and avoiding alcohol before going out on the water.”

    Boaties checking the weather has risen to 85%; 67% are avoiding alcohol ‘every time’; and 43% of have at least two ways to signal or call for help if needed.