DPA boosts water safety for ACC Have a hmm campaign

DPA boosts water safety for ACC Have a hmm campaign

‘Have a hmmm’ is a constructive wero (challenge) from ACC to Aotearoa: Take action to avoid injury and keep yourself, your whānau, friends and community safe and well.

DPA joined forces with ACC and sector partners to offer expertise for a series of water safety videos. Check out the popular water based activities below.

Have a watch, then have a hmmm next time you head out to the water.

Kaimoana fishing off the rocks

Kaimoana snorkelling and diving

Kaimoana fishing from a boat



Other news

Lobbying for Lifejacket Bylaw Change

Lobbying for Lifejacket Bylaw Change

Navigating Towards Safer Waters: Push for changes to Auckland's Lifejacket Bylaw In the past quarter, we have been advocating for a crucial update to Auckland's Navigational Bylaw. Currently, skippers of vessels under 6 metres have the choice of whether those on board...

DPA boosts water safety for ACC Have a hmm campaign

DPA boosts water safety for ACC Have a hmm campaign

'Have a hmmm' is a constructive wero (challenge) from ACC to Aotearoa: Take action to avoid injury and keep yourself, your whānau, friends and community safe and well. DPA joined forces with ACC and sector partners to offer expertise for a series of water safety...

Kai Gathering with Te Ara a Hape

Kai Gathering with Te Ara a Hape

The youth group from Makaurau Marae recently completed our Kai Gathering programme which ended on a high with two open water dives at Te Kohuroa/Matheson Bay. The conditions on the day were perfect for the dive with some serious excitement levels! Prior to reaching...

Lifejacket Use and Maintenance

Lifejacket Use and Maintenance

Calling Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland home means living in a city surrounded by many beautiful water environments. Recreational activities on or near the water are common, everywhere from our lakes and rivers, to our harbours and rugged west coast beaches.

Along with the health and wellbeing benefits these water-based activities bring, also comes the risk of drowning. A tragic and preventable event that can affect anyone.

The Maritime NZ Boating Fatality Report notes 98 recreational boating fatalities in the six years 2015-2019. Over half (58%) were not wearing a lifejacket, and in a further 9% the lifejackets were not worn or secured correctly. The report states that most fatalities occurred when the person ended up in the water after falling overboard, or the vessel capsizing or being swamped. The incidents occurred suddenly and the victims did not have time to fit lifejackets if they were not already being worn.

Whether you are boating, fishing, paddling, or gathering seafood, it is important that you know when and how to wear a lifejacket (sometimes referred to as a PFD – Personal Flotation Devices).

When do you need to wear a lifejacket?

Bylaws on the wearing of lifejackets vary. Click the button to check the rules about when you need to wear a lifejacket (Ture ā-Rohe Mahi Urungi Āhuru 2021 Navigation Bylaw 2021)

How to fit a lifejacket

It is absolutely essential that your lifejacket is correctly fitted. It should fit snugly and shouldn’t ride up when the person enters the water.
Out of the water
  • Read the label on the lifejacket to find the right fit. Select the correct lifejacket by size and weight indicators.
  • Check belt straps are not twisted.
  • Put it on and do up the zip, if applicable, and each buckle so that it is a snug fit.
  • Self check the belt by inserting two fingers between the belt and the lifejacket.
  • Buddy check by lifting at the shoulders to ensure the lifejacket doesn’t ride up past earlobes.
In the water
You may need to do this in emergency situations such as accidental falls from a boat not wearing a lifejacket or if thrown a lifejacket as a rescue aid.

  • Open lifejacket and lie it face up in the water.
  • Lie on top of the lifejacket, without putting arms through the armholes.
  • Put one arm through the opposite armholes.
  • Rotate body and put other arm through other armhole.

Maintaining lifejackets

Not only should you have a correctly fitted lifejacket for every person taking part in the water-based activity, these lifejackets should be in good condition.

Most manufacturers state that lifejackets should last ten years, but this can be less depending on wear, care, and storage.

Wash in fresh water, and dry completely before storing. Check for damage before you put your lifejackets away.

Check if your lifejacket will work:

  • Pull the straps, hard.
  • Look for tears or cuts in the straps.
  • Check for tears, cuts, or punctures in the lifejacket.
  • Check if it floats – Check with the manufacturer or lifejacket service centre.

For more information on checking lifejackets visit the Check your lifejackets page of the Maritime NZ website.

If you have an inflatable lifejacket we advise you to perform this check annually to ensure your lifejacket is operational.

Don’t have a lifejacket? Borrow one from us!

If you need a lifejacket for an upcoming activity and don’t have one, then you can borrow one from one of our Lifejacket Hubs around Tāmaki Makaurau. Click the button for locations and to find out more.

Lifejackets for schools

We have a supply of lifejackets available, free of charge, for aquatic education programmes. Click the button for more information.

Free e-learning platform

Our free e-learning platform has several topics relating to the usage of lifejackets for various ages and activities.
SUP Safety

SUP Safety

Stand up paddle boarding is a popular activity for people of all ages and activity levels. This means that there is a wide range in the level of ability and confidence amongst paddle boarders. We want everyone to be able to safely enjoy this water sport which is great for fitness and overall wellbeing. Here are the key things you can do to keep yourself safe while out on your SUP.
Use a leash
Make sure you know and use the right leash for the conditions. This varies depending on which type of body of water you are in. Rivers and currents have different requirements to lakes, which differs again to surf.
Wear a correctly-fitted lifejacket

Sometimes referred to as a PFD (personal flotation device) or buoyancy aid, a lifejacket is an essential item when out on the water. Ensure your lifejacket, and that of anyone you are paddling with, is correctly fitted. If you don’t have a lifejacket you can borrow one from us from one of our Auckland Lifejacket Hubs.

2+ waterproof forms of communication
Always take at least two forms of waterproof communication with you in case you need to call for help. This can include a mobile phone in a waterproof bag and a whistle on your lifejacket.
Check the conditions and be prepared for them to change
Weather and water conditions can change quickly. Check the forecast before you go and be prepared for the conditions to change while you are out paddling.
Tell someone your plan
Before you head out, tell someone on shore where you are going and when you expect to return.

Check out this video from our friends at New Zealand Stand Up Paddle which covers these key points. They go more indepth in aspects of SUP safety on their website.

Adult Water Safety e-learning

Learn more about staying safe while enjoying water-based activities by completing our Adult Water Safety e-learning module.

Rip Current Safety

Rip Current Safety

Getting caught in a rip current is an all-too-common occurence at our surf beaches in Aotearoa, with tens of thousands of rescues taking place every year and many of the fatal drownings at beaches being directly related to rip currents.

Over the last ten years, over one-third (38%) of beach and coastal fatal drownings occurred at a surf beach in New Zealand. Rip currents are the greatest hazard at a surf beach; however, SLSNZ research shows nearly two-thirds (60%) of New Zealanders cannot identify a rip.

This blog covers recognising rips and how to manage yourself if you end up getting caught in one.


A rip current is a strong and fast flowing current moving toward the sea that travels up to one to two metres per second. Rip currents usually develop close to the shoreline. Rip currents are dangerous because they carry anything in the water seawards to deeper waters. Most people don’t know how strong a rip current is until they are caught in one.
(The red arrows in this image are the rips.)


You need to be able to recognise a rip current and stay out of them.
What to look for:


Calm spot in the water, i.e. No breaking waves


A patch of water that appears discoloured.

Deep, dark

Deeper, darker water

Out to sea

Anything floating out to sea

REAL-LIFE SCENARIO: Recognising a rip

This 360 degree video gives you a bird’s eye view of O’Neill beach in Auckland.
Use your mouse or finger to navigate around, along with the prompts on screen, to see if you can spot the rip.


Remember the 3 Rs if you get caught in a rip current:


Relax and float with the rip. Never swim against a rip.


Raise your hand to signal for help


Ride the rip until it weakens or help arrives. Once calm swim with the waves back to shore.

REAL-LIFE SCENARIO: Managing yourself in a rip

This 360 degree video, filmed at at Te Henga, Bethell’s beach in Auckland shows a real-life scenario
of people caught in a rip current.
Use your mouse or finger to navigate around, along with the prompts on screen, to see how they managed themselves.


So how can you prepare yourself to stay safe at the beach this Summer?

1. Know how to recognise a rip
2. Know what to do if you get caught in a rip
3. On a patrolled beach, always swim between the red and yellow flags
4. Always stay within your own ability and keep an eye on the conditions


For more information about open water safety and coastal awareness, check out the following e-learning modules:

Water Safety for Youth and Young Adults

Adult Water Safety

Don’t underestimate the risks, don’t overestimate your ability.
Me mataara ki ngā tūraru, me mataara ki ō āheinga.
Aua fakahanoa! Aua fakatokoluga haau tau manatu!
Aua le soona soona fuaina lo outou gafatia pe manatu faatauvaa i tulaga lamatia