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  Services » Regional Services » Maritime services » Rules and safety information » Kayaking

Kayaking

 On this page: Essential requirements for safe paddling, paddling at night, kayak identification requirements

The Waikato region is a sea and fresh water kayaking paradise, but there are some things to keep in mind to stay safe on the water.

Before you head out kayaking always know what you might encounter on the way - check out our list of waterfall hazards.

Photo of kayaking at night

Essential requirements for safe paddling

  • Take the right equipment including a properly fitting lifejacket, a communications device, a pump, sprayskirt
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out - www.metservice.co.nz(external link)
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you will be back
  • Never canoe or kayak alone
  • Make sure you'll be clearly visible to other craft on the water
  • Know your limitations
  • Talk to a local if you're paddling in a new area - contact the local canoe / kayak retailor or local coastguard unit

Make sure the kayak is clearly marked with emergency contact details - see vessel i.d. requirements for more information.

Photo of KayakPaddling at night


Maritime rules require that as a minimum, kayakers must carry a torch to prevent collision. A suitable alternative is a head torch that will allow your arms to be free to paddle. In addition, mounting an all-round white light on your rear deck above head-height means you will be visible from all directions.

Kayak identification requirements


Your kayak must be marked with emergency contact details somewhere on the kayak that is clearly visible.

  • You could write with waterproof marker.
  • Laminate a card and attach it.
  • Write on waterproof tape.

For full information go to clause 5.5 of the Navigation Safety Bylaw.

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