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Basic Boating Equipment


Overview of lifejacket rules and recommendations for use plus links to detailed lifejacket guidance via Maritime NZ


The skipper's legal responsibility is to have lifejackets present and in good condition on all vessels of any size operating in New Zealand waters.

Maritime New Zealand rules also state that it is the skipper’s legal responsibility to ensure that lifejackets are worn in situations of heightened risk, such as when crossing a bar, in rough water, during an emergency, and by non‐swimmers.

  • Lifejackets must be stored to be immediately available in an emergency when not worn.
  • There must be one correct sized lifejacket for everyone on board. The lifejacket must be in good working condition and suitable for the intended activity.
  • Wearing a life jacket increases your survival time in the water by a significant margin.
  • Child-sized lifejackets must contain a crotch strap.
  • Skippers must check the serviceability of life jackets annually.

It is compulsory to wear life jackets on small craft to comply with many regional bylaws. Check the regional council bylaws for the requirements applying to the part of the country in which you are operating.

Find your regional bylaws.

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