Tower and Coastguard calls for support from local communities to keep our waters safe. Article sponsored by Tower Insurance.

New Zealand’s recreational boating scene has never been busier, with closed borders and hot weather over the summer months, record numbers of Kiwis have been hitting the water amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Coastguard New Zealand, there was a 30% increase in trip reports in January 2022, compared to the same period in 2019.

To help the more than two million boaties have a great time out on the water safely and bring much needed support to Coastguard volunteers around the country, Coastguard joined forces with Tower last year. This summer, despite record numbers of Kiwis hitting the water, Coastguard has experienced a reduction of incidents from 978 last summer to 916. Coastguard volunteers spending more than 2,000 extra hours on the water over the holiday period compared to last highlights the value of preventative actions – being on the water as much as possible to quickly support those that need assistance.

Tower CEO, Blair Turnbull says while insurance helps boaties recover their vessels and equipment from loss and damage, it’s Coastguard volunteers who make sure they get home safe when the unexpected happens.

“Protecting what matters to our customers has long been a steadfast value of Tower’s, so partnering with Coastguard New Zealand was an easy choice.

“There are about 2,000 trained and skilled volunteers ensuring our safety across the coastlines, major rivers and lakes of Aotearoa. After two years of COVID-19 and lockdowns, we anticipated this summer would be a busy one, so we wanted to ensure everyone on the water could continue to rely on Coastguard.”

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Coastguard’s Head of Operations Rob McCaw says the most common causes of boating incidents are mechanical and electrical issues, followed by running out of fuel.

“It’s important that boaties think about the maintenance of their vessel as often as their car’s. As when life gets busy or the weather’s not playing the game, boats can often sit idle for periods of time without use, regular checks and maintenance can make all the difference when out on the water,” he said.

“Also, if you’re new to boating or haven’t been out in a while, it’s well worth getting yourself upskilled with our Coastguard Day Skipper Course which covers all the basics and gives you the confidence to head out and have a great time.”

Seven things to check before each trip: 

  1. Check your lifejackets are in good condition and there is one for everyone on-board.
  2. Log a trip report with your VHF, *500 on your mobile or with the touch of a button via the Coastguard App
  3. Carry two forms of water-proof communication (a charged and working VHF radio and a phone in a waterproof bag)
  4. Check your local marine weather forecast
  5. Check your fuel levels. Always remember the rule of thumb – budget to use 1/3 of your fuel getting there, 1/3 getting back, leaving 1/3 as reserve if you need it
  6. Check your insurance is up to date
  7. Check your Coastguard membership is current so you know we’ve got your back with free non-urgent assists should things not quite go to plan

Tower also urged boaties and local communities to help support Coastguard’s mission to bring Kiwis home safely.

“Tower will continue to partner with Coastguard to help Kiwis enjoy more time on the water, and to help boost awareness around boating safety. We are proud of this partnership and hope that local communities throughout Aotearoa will keep on supporting this vital service too,” says Turnbull.

Currently there are almost 45,000 Coastguard members in New Zealand. Last year, Coastguard New Zealand received over 275,000 radio calls and carried out more than 3,500 missions to bring boaties home safely.

If you wish to support Coastguard New Zealand by volunteering or donating, visit their website to find out more.

Tower boat insurance customers can enjoy $30 off Coastguard individual memberships for additional peace of mind while out on the water. To find out more about Tower’s boat insurance, visit tower.co.nz/boat-insurance.

Image courtesy of Coastguard NZ.