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Carol Forsyth insists the Coastguard is not trying to incite a mutiny - just trying to get women to take a more proactive role in their boating activities.

She said the Coastguard Boating Education's new women on board courses are day skipper classes tutored by women and exclusively for women.

"Whether women are completely new to boating or have had experience, we are encouraging them to learn about ensuring the safety of their family and friends," Forsyth said.

"We want to give women confidence on the water and make boating fun for them."

The theory classes teach maritime road rules, how to handle emergencies and are aimed at all women who go boating.

"One of the primary aims is to help women who go boating become more confident and responsible - to be a help and not a hindrance on board.

"We look at simple things like where the emergency flares are located, how to turn on the bilge pump and which is the port side.

The first women's day skippers course was held in Christchurch in November and began a nationwide campaign.

Coastguard Boating Education tutor Katie McNabb said the students' confidence and enjoyment was obvious when they got their certificates in February.

"I'd now be totally relaxed about going boating with any of them."

Massey Community House courses will be held on Monday evenings from May 5 and Coastguard Northern Region Maritime School's Tuesday morning course starts on May 6.

* Contact Coastguard Boating Education on 0800 40 80 90 or