A spat of boating accidents where people have been lucky to escape with their lives in recent weeks has prompted a warning from the Police Maritime Unit.

Two weeks ago, two vessels capsized off shore on Horowhenua beaches, trapping occupants underneath, while two more incidents south of Kāpiti at the weekend have highlighted the dangers of recreational fishing.

Police coastal master Stu Main of the Police Maritime Unit said at this time of the year it can get very cold and the weather can change in an instant.

Main said the Police Maritime Unit would like to remind all boating enthusiasts to check the weather conditions before venturing out on the water.


"A number of water incidents occur because people go out unprepared. Not only can this be dangerous and put other people at risk but it also takes considerable police resources to rescue troubled boaties," he said.

His comments come after two incidents at the weekend where the boaties ran into trouble while out in the water.

Early in the day three people encountered engine trouble while out fishing around Mana Island.

 Coastguard Manawatū tows in a boat that capsized offshore two weeks ago.
Coastguard Manawatū tows in a boat that capsized offshore two weeks ago.

A series of waves tipped the boat over, with all three people ending up in the water.

"Thankfully, they all had life jackets and managed to swim a short distance to the island where they were located by police and transported back to the shore," he said.

"The wind and sea conditions at the time were too rough for the small runabout and it was not prudent to be fishing in such conditions.

"It was good that the crew were wearing their life jackets, which possibly prevented them from drowning."

The second incident at the weekend saw a boat hit a rock near Moa Point. The vessel sank and the sole occupant managed to swim safely to shore.


While the weather was relatively calm at the time of the incident, the sea became quite rough an hour later.

"Water safety is so important and some simple common sense checks can prevent needless tragedies," he said.

"It's important when boating to be familiar with navigational hazards in your area to ensure a safe passage."

Boaties are also reminded to:
- always wear a life jacket when they are boating, jet skiing or using other craft on the water.
- have two forms of waterproof communication on board.
- make sure their equipment is safe and working.
- leave their trip intentions with someone onshore.
- always check the water and weather forecast.