Media release

Safety on the water should be first priority – ORC Harbourmaster

Tuesday 31 October 2023

Otago Regional Council Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook wants safety to be the first priority of people going out on the water this summer.

The recreational boating season in Aotearoa New Zealand is getting underway, with the holiday season fast approaching thousands of people are preparing to head to Otago’s coastal waters, harbours, lakes and rivers.

Whether you’re a keen paddleboarder, kayaker, jet skier or boatie, take the time to do a thorough check of your vessel and all your gear before you head off, says Mr Rushbrook.

“Before going out, prep your boat, safety and communication equipment, check the weather conditions and know the rules,” he says.

“For those new to boating, please stop, think, and find out about basic boating safety rules to protect you and your loved ones. Be safe, it’s about enjoying our amazing environment and coming home safe at the end of the day. If in doubt, don’t go out”.

“No matter if you’re on a power boat, jet ski or kayak, remembering the boating safety code is integral.”

The Boating Safety Code (on the Harbourmaster page alongside other helpful information for boaties) reinforces five key messages:

  1. Wear your lifejacket
  2. Take two waterproof ways to call for help
  3. Check the marine weather forecast
  4. Avoid alcohol – booze and boats don’t mix
  5. Be a responsible skipper


Harbourmaster and team patrolling Lake Dunstan on the vessel Kaitiaki
The Harbourmaster team will be patrolling Lake Dunstan as well as other Central Otago lakes and rivers over summer on the vessel Kaitiaki

Whatever your level of experience, the ORC Harbourmaster team have made a series of videos containing some great advice to keep you safe.

Watch them here: