I am penning this ‘guest’ editorial because – as I write – your regular editor John Eichelsheim is winging his way across the world to cover the launch of what I understand is some innovative, very sophisticated marine technology. Not sure exactly what it is, but it promises to pep-up your boating lifestyle.

As you will read within these pages, there is great news on the boat show front. After numerous Covid-related disruptions and uncertainty about the venue, the iconic Hutchwilco Boat Show returns to the Auckland Showgrounds in May next year.

With it comes a new owner – XPO Exhibitions. It has acquired the event from long-time owner Auckland Water Ski Club – and the vibes are good. XPO’s Brent Spillane says his team is committed to developing and growing the show – building on the content and visitor experience and delivering the commercial return for the marine and fishing industries who exhibit. “We have the scale and resourcing to invest in the show’s ongoing success.”

Good stuff. But good stuff often carries a caveat.

About the same time that XPO announced its acquisition, Daniel Gerrard, the CEO of Water Safety New Zealand issued an open and heartfelt letter to – well, largely to Kiwi blokes. It’s sobering reading.


“There’s a good chance,” writes Gerrard, “that around 30 Kiwis, mostly male, will die over the next two months through drowning. To Pakeha males in power boats, Māori men gathering kai underwater, Asian men fishing from rocks, Pasifika men fishing from boats – you guys are consistently over-represented in our drowning tragedies.”

Last year the country lost 90 people to drowning – 76 were male.

Gerrard’s point, of course, is that most of these drownings were avoidable – if everyone had exercised a little common sense. “By knowing the conditions, supervising the kids, wearing a life jacket, and remembering you’re not as good as you were when you were 20 – you will make it home at the end of the day. You can’t afford to half-arse your safety.”

Summertime, and the living is easy – if you think more clearly.

Happy Boating.