Getting ship-shape for summer boating: Your pre-summer boating checklist

Getting ship-shape for summer boating: Your pre-summer boating checklist

October 2023

Maintenance check on boat or jetski. Tick.

Safety gear check. Tick.

Refresher boating course. Tick.

Research helpful boating apps. Tick.

If you can lay claim to all those ticks, then you’re doing a good job of getting ready for summer boating. So, let’s look at these pointers above in a bit more detail so you can be totally prepared for an excellent boating season.

Maintenance check

Ensure your engine is running perfectly and your battery is in working order. It’s the time to do a once-over of all equipment on your boat and ensure everything is as should be and within expiry dates. It's also worth checking back on when the last time you got a professional service. If the engine hasn't had the once over for a while, make sure to get in before Christmas. The last thing we need is a fail out on the water, especially if everyone is on holiday.

Safety gear check

Are you au fait with the recommended safety gear for boating?  Your checklist of emergency equipment on board should cover communication devices, flares, fire extinguisher, waterproof torch and first aid kit. Please note, that was communication devices, plural. It is important to ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment - usually, marine VHF radio is best. Maritime NZ stresses that waterproof communications can save a life.

Make sure your lifejackets are in good condition and still fit for purpose (that they still fit your growing children too), that you have enough (including for family and friends who may be joining you), and service any inflatable lifejackets.

Refresher boating course 

The Day Skipper course that NZ Coastguard provides is held in high esteem. It is an introductory course for all members of the family or crew and focuses on essential boating knowledge and safety know-how. It covers boat handling, safety equipment, navigation, tides, weather, rules and regulations, emergencies, and knots - giving you an overview of the whole boating experience. This course applies to a wide range of vessels - including yachts, launches, powerboats, jet skis, sea kayaks, and waka.  

There are a large number of boating courses that offer the opportunity to not only learn new skills, but also refresh and practice old ones.

Not sure how much you know, or need to know? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Take this quiz (courtesy of Boating Education NZ).

Helpful boating apps

There are apps to cover weather, tides, knots… all sorts. The Powerboat Training website has a list of top apps for New Zealand use.

  1. Windguru is a highly recommended weather website that breaks the weather down into easily digested three-hourly sections. While this App predicts the weather in hundreds of spots around the world, general consensus is that it’s very accurate for New Zealand. Wind speed, wave height, wave period, rain, cloud cover and temperature are all covered. Information from this free app is also available at
  2. Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) Tide Times. Actually, this is a website - not an app (but so good it couldn’t be omitted here) - it gives tidal information for everywhere around New Zealand.
  3. Navionics. This app provides nautical charts. While savvy boaters are told not to rely on their GPS, this is a useful app and a sound backup to your main plotter. It comes with features such as marina phone numbers, tidal height, stream and drift. This app doesn’t need to be in cell phone range as it uses the on-board GPS.
  4. Flashlight. Remember, most modern smartphones come well equipped with a blinder of a flashlight. Alway useful to have handy, but easily overlooked.
  5. Emergency distress beacon. You need to be in cellphone range for this one. Click on “Email Location” and it takes your geographical location from the clever internal working of the Iphone and emails it to anyone you want. It’s another freebie.
  6. Dragging anchor alarm.  Anchor alarm is also a free app, and a nice little gizmo that could work in tandem with your GPS system.
  7. Captains toolbox. This one has been described as “a good little index app for general boating education”.
  8. Knots app. No boating app guide would be complete without a knot app and this one’s a goodie.