Coastguard Wanganui is urging everyone heading out on the water to wear a lifejacket.

Local president Kevin McKenna told the Chronicle making sure everyone on board was wearing a lifejacket is the first thing a boat skipper should do.

"It's all part of our safety message to anyone out on the water this summer," Mr McKenna said.

"They also need to make sure their boat is properly serviced, and that they're carrying all the proper safety gear."

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He said Coastguard Wanganui had 1000 boats on its register although only about half were members of the organisation.

"If we could get them all as members there would be more we could do. But generally, whether they're members of not, boat users out of Whanganui are a very good lot."

Mr McKenna said that the volume of boats meant a "huge number" of people could be at sea off the Whanganui coast at any given time.

"For about three days over the Christmas period we had more than a 100 boats launched from the slipway every day. If you think each boat was carrying three or four people that's somewhere between 300 and 400 people on the water each day."

He also had another warning for recreational jet skiers or boaties thinking about getting out on the Whanganui River.

"The floods in June dramatically changing the shape of the river in some parts and has left a lot of snags in the water. People need to check the river at low tide to recognise where these problem areas are before they go out," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr McKenna said Coastguard Wanganui would be hoping to see an initiative in the northern part of the North Island extended to other regions soon.

Coastguard NZ is running an "Old4New" lifejacket upgrade through to the end of January encouraging boaties and members of the public to bring along their old lifejackets and trade them in for a new one at a discounted price.