A growing number of new boaties floating about in Auckland's waters are worrying safety advocates who fear it may result in more drownings if nothing is done.

Research shows the number of new boat trailer registrations has increased by 42 per cent between 2008 and 2107, while more than 50 per cent of the boaties on the water have less than five years' boating experience.

Water Safety NZ chief executive Jonty Mills said a water safety strategy specific for Auckland was being developed to address the concerning figures.

"It's our largest population base and with high participation rates across a wide range of water-based activities, an accessible harbour and warm climate it's important we have a strong focus on Auckland."


There have been 67 preventable drowning fatalities over the five years 2013 – 2017 - an average of 17 a year.

The largest number of drownings happen at beaches with the biggest killer immersion incidents, followed by swimming and powered boating.

The Auckland Coastguard receives an average of 600 callouts a year, while NZ Police search and rescue carry out about 85 water-related callouts.

"Auckland has had rapid population growth and water safety services are scrambling to keep up with demand. These are largely volunteer based organisations facing significant challenges."

Water Safety New Zealand is working with Drowning Prevention Auckland (DPA) and other partners in the region to develop an Auckland Regional Water Safety Strategy to raise awareness around water safety and address the challenges specific to Auckland.