With the long weekend just around the corner, boaties are urged to prep their boat, check their gear, and know the rules before hitting the water.

With motorised vessels often being stored over the colder months, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council hoped this reminder would reduce the number of calls received around this time of year for broken down boats.

Bay of Plenty Harbourmaster Peter Buell said Safer Boating Week was traditionally the week before Labour Day weekend, which was when many boaties started getting back on the water.

"The prep, check, know message is a simple message but an important one. Making sure you are up to speed with the rules is especially relevant with the recent changes to the Navigation Safety Bylaw.

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"For example boaties now have to wear lifejackets unless the skipper has assessed the conditions and advised it's safe to remove their lifejacket and powered vessels over 4m must be named," Mr Buell said.

The annual prep, check, know checklist:
- Prep your boat - service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery, and generally give the boat a good once over.

- Check your gear - make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough, service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment.

- Know the rules - ensure you know the rules of the road on the water, and make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.

The total number of recreational vessels owned in New Zealand is currently estimated to be about 960,000, with more than half of these being kayaks/canoes and power boats less than 6m in length.