Rules of the Sea
You learned the rules of the road before you sat behind the wheel of a car, now you should do the same before taking the helm! There are some rules that apply to everyone on the water, no matter what sort of boat you are operating:
- Keep a proper lookout – watch where you are going at all times.
- Keep to a safe speed – this means slowing down in situations where you may find it difficult to see another boat, e.g. in waves, rain, or fog, or when there is glare on the water.
- Understand and operate within the speed limits – the maximum speed permitted for all boats in New Zealand is 5 knots (about 9 km/h) within 200 metres of shore or any boat with a dive flag, and within 50 metres of any other boat or swimmer.
- Know what to do when two boats meet – one boat has the right of way and the other boat is the give way boat:
- When you give way, always try to pass behind the other boat.
- Above all, make your intentions clear – make substantial alterations to your direction and be prepared to slow right down or stop if you are in doubt.
- If the give way boat fails to give way, you must make every effort to avoid a collision.
- Keep to starboard (“drive on the right”) in channels
- Any boat approaching another from behind is considered to be overtaking, and must keep clear of the boat it is passing.
What’s in the safe boating pack:
- Safe Boating Essential Guide – a comprehensive 44-page booklet covering all aspects of how to stay safe on the water (seas, rivers and lakes) – includes “rules of the road on the water”
- cellphone bag – a ziplock bag to keep your cellphone dry
- sticker – Boat Safely – a handy summary
- sticker – Cross the Bar Safely – handy tips
- Boating Education: your quick guide to recreational boating courses leaflet (Coastguard Boating Education)
- Keep our bays beautiful – leaflet
- Beacons save lives – leaflet (while stocks last)