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Published: 2014-12-18 00:00:00

The next best thing to catching the big one is getting home after a trip out on the water and telling everyone about the big one. It’s all a quintessential part of the kiwi summer.

But the getting home part can be fraught with dangers. Waikato Regional Council’s ongoing aim this summer is to have everyone get home safely.

Council harbourmasters will be out in force over summer to help with that.

Lower Waikato zone harbourmaster Richard Barnett says: “Our team of harbourmasters is very much at home on the water.

“Our aim this summer is to have no-one die when boating on Waikato waters, whether at sea or on our inland waterways.

“We want to see everyone make it home safe after having a fantastic time out on the water.”

Richard’s top tips for making it home safe are:

  • make sure the marine weather and tide are going to be good before heading out - that information is available at
  • check all is in order with vessels and equipment before heading out
  • wear a correctly sized lifejacket – if using an inflatable check canisters and that the bladder is not punctured (see for advice on how to do this)
  • know all relevant boating rules (again head to if a refresher is needed)
  • carry waterproof communications that are right for the area and can contact someone during the entire trip
  • let someone else know destination and return time
  • skippers should avoid alcohol.

“Good communications are particularly important,” says Richard.

“You need to be able to contact someone quickly if you’re in trouble.”

Going easy on alcohol was particularly important for skippers, he adds.

“You’re responsible for every life aboard your boat, so make sure you take that responsibility seriously and ensure everyone gets home safe by not overindulging in the holiday season cheer.

“It’s about having fun with family and friends and enjoying our big blue backyard, and getting home safely at the end of the day.”