The Waikato Regional Council's new harbourmaster is urging boaties to be vigilant, with visitor numbers expected to spike this summer.
The warning comes following the eagerly anticipated opening of the Auckland border and as the council gears up for its routine increase in patrols over the peak season.
Regional Harbourmaster Chris Bredenbeck said: "It's been a funny old year, so we're excited to see locals and visitors alike getting back to it and having fun on the water this summer.
"But we're already seeing higher than usual activity as people blow off the cobwebs, and we're expecting it to get a lot busier still. Anecdotally it looks like there'll be more vessels – understandably there's enormous demand for people to do things locally, and we've been told new jet skis coming in from overseas are already pre-sold.
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"So, we're calling on people to make sure they know the rules before they head out. Always wear a lifejacket. Always watch your speed. And always carry two types of waterproof comms so you can call for help if you need to."
Bredenbeck recently took over from former Regional Harbourmaster Richard Barnett, who retired this month after 15 years with the regional council.
"Richard played a major role in influencing positive behaviour change in our region, with lifejacket compliance now sitting at about 96 per cent.
"Those are some big shoes to fill, but it's a privilege to be able crack on, build on that good work and continue keeping our waterways safe for everyone to enjoy."
The council takes a no excuses approach to rule-breaking. Anyone caught speeding or not wearing or carrying a lifejacket as required can expect to receive a breach notice that could lead to a $200 fine.
Unsafe behaviour on the water as well as maritime hazards and incidents should be reported to the Maritime Services team at the Waikato Regional Council on 0800 800 402.