Boat Safety Research

Boat Safety Research

Four key risk factors have been identified by the New Zealand Safer Boating Forum for targeted interventions.

These are:

  1. Failure to wear lifejackets in small craft;
  2. Not being able to communicate when an accident happens;
  3. Failing to check forecasts to avoid boating in bad weather and sea conditions, and
  4. Avoiding alcohol consumption, as it is likely to impair judgement and may be a factor in accidents and fatalities.

For the last three years Ipsos New Zealand has carried out research regarding boating participation in New Zealand for Maritime New Zealand ( ). This research shows that over 1.5 million adult New Zealanders are involved with recreational boating (Griffiths, Dodd & Karkaria, 2018). Slightly more males participate compared to females (54% v. 64%), and over two thirds (72%) identify as New Zealand European / Pākehā. The 2018 research indicates that while some significant improvements have clearly been made by recreational boaties in some of these key areas, there is still room to further improve risk-related behaviour on the water.

In addition, recreational boating behavioural research has been undertaken on-the-water by eight councils and Maritime NZ (Water Survey Results 2017).

Almost two thirds (64%) of recreational boaties were using a powerboat. Males were primarily powerboat users (69% of males) and females primarily paddle craft users (52% of females).

Initial results show up to 93% of boaties were wearing lifejackets when they are required to. In addition, 96% were carrying enough lifejackets for everyone on board.


Griffiths, R., Dodd, J. & Karkaria, Y. (2018). 2018 Recreational Boating Participation Research, June 2018. Ipsos, Auckland.

Maritime New Zealand. (2017). On-the-water Survey. Maritime New Zealand.