Each year in New Zealand lives are lost, people are injured and thousands of dollars worth of property is damaged because of preventable recreational boating accidents. Far too often pleasure outings turn tragic. It’s very easy to own a boat in New Zealand but with ownership comes the Skipper’s responsibility for the safety of all passengers and equipment. The Skipper aboard any boat is in charge and should always ensure all necessary equipment for the trip is on board. Life jackets should be worn when crossing river bars, during emergencies, in rough water or at times of heightened risk. Children and all non-swimmers should always wear their life jacket. Boats should be carefully maintained with regular service checks to the motor, electrics and other equipment. Before heading out obtain an updated marine weather forecast, listening for updates throughout the day. Leave a note with someone, detailing where you are going, how many people you have on board and when you expect to return. If you follow the rules, are responsible and have an emergency plan in place, you are sure to have a safe and enjoyable boating summer.