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.
Recreational boating research conducted by Ipsos New Zealand

From April to May 2020 Ipsos surveyed over 2,000 New Zealanders aged 18 and over about their recreational boating habits. The 2020 survey asked new questions about recreational boat ownership and use, recreational boating information sources, and perceived recreational boating risks. IPSOS 2020 research identified that 45% of New Zealanders (an estimated 1.67 million people) participated in recreational boating in the previous 12 months, with 36% occurring in the Auckland region. For more detailed and infographics of the results, see

In addition, recreational boating behavioural research has been undertaken on-the-water by eighteen councils and Harbourmasters, and Maritime NZ, with 4,208 on-water interactions with boaties to drive a safer boating culture. The number of lifejackets being worn when legally required increased from 83% to 87% over the previous year.


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

Maritime New Zealand. (2021). 2020 Recreational Boating Summary