Welcome to our Waka Ama Water Safety Hub! Here you will find all of our Waka Ama Water Safety content, in partnership with Water Safety New Zealand, Maritime NZ, and Safer Boating.

Waka Ama Flip and Float

The purpose of this video and the resources is to provide our clubs, paddlers, and community with an online resource that educates our waka ama whānau in the area of water safety.
This video explains:
  • how to fit a lifejacket correctly for each paddler
  • how right a capszied waka,
  • the steps involved to right the waka, get back in it and bail
Waka Ama NZ recommends that clubs ensure all members should be proficient in this skill and feel comfortable doing it.
This drill should be completed in a safe and controlled environment (that can be outside) and that life jackets should be worn for the duration of the drill.

Always ensure all instructions are clear to the paddlers - the best place to tautoko your paddlers flipping their waka - is in the water with them.

Waka Ama Safety Officer

The Waka Ama Safety Officer should be someone who is experienced with water safety. The following is a simple guide to assist clubs in appointing a Waka Ama Water Safety Officer. This also includes the roles and responsibilities of this officer.

There are a number of duties that a water safety officer can carry out, this includes:
  • Waka equipment maintenance
  • A logbook or contact sheet of Waka out on the water at any time – this could even be a text or Facebook post from paddlers going out and how long they will be
  • Regular communication of required and recommended safety gear as per Waka Ama NZ rules
  • Ensuring compliance with New Zealand MaritimeRules and Local Bylaw and communicating these to the club and paddlers
  • Checking the weather and communicating conditions to club paddlers
  • Rescue towing, capsizing, and swamping procedures
  • Encouraging the Club to adopt a safety plan including what to do in emergencies
  • Encouraging the Club to adopt policies for the management of risks on the water
Water Safety Officers will also play an important role at Waka Ama Events such as:
  • Making volunteers and officials aware of their duties to ensure the safety of event participants
  • Make sure safety checks are carried out at all events
  • Ensuring there is a first aid kit or medical professional on hand
  • Ensuring all volunteers and officials are aware of all emergency procedures

Waka Ama Water Safety Booklet

This booklet aims to provide new and existing members with basic water safety information so they feel safe and able when heading out on the water.

The purpose of this booklet is to educate our waka ama whānau in six key areas of water safety in relation to waka ama.

These key areas are:
  • Personal Floatation Devices (PFD)
  • The environment
  • Marine Weather Conditions
  • Communication
  • Equipment Required
  • Maritime Laws

Waka Ama Safety Kete

This Waka Ama Safety Kete holds all of the required and recommended safety gear that will ensure paddlers are safe when they head out on the water. Make sure to share this with all paddlers to keep everyone safe out on the water.

Waka Ama Safety Kete

Coastguard Boating Education

There are a number of courses available from Coastguard Boating Education that are relevant for Water Safety officers and those involved in waka ama to develop knowledge and skills. Here are some relevant courses to consider:
  • CBE Waka Ama Safety Basics
  • CBE Maritime VHF Operators course
  • CBE Day Skipper
  • CBE Boat Master
Coastguard Boating Education

Local Bylaws

The aim of local bylaws is to ensure the safety of waterway users and reduce the conflicts between different water-based activities (including lakes, rivers or harbours). Instant fines may be given for offences against a regional bylaw, and for more serious offences, you may be prosecuted. Check with the area you are paddling in to determine the specific bylaws.

Bay of Plenty Region: www.boprc.govt.nz
Gisborne District: www.gdc.govt.nz
Hawke's Bay: www.hbrc.govt.nz
Manawatu-Wanganui: www.horizons.govt.nz
Northland Region: www.nrc.govt.nz
Taranaki Region: www.trc.govt.nz
Wellington Region: www.gw.govt.nz

Environment Canterbury: www.ecan.govt.nz
Central Otago District: www.codc.govt.nz
Grey District Council: www.greydc.govt.nz
Marlborough Region: www.marlborough.govt.nz
Otago Regional Council: www.orc.govt.nz
Queenstown Lakes District: www.qldc.govt.nz
Southland Regional Council: www.es.govt.nz
Tasman District Council: www.tasman.govt.nz
West Coast Region: www.wcrc.govt.nz

Water Safety Partners

Coastguard Boating Education


Safer Boating


Maritime NZ


Water Safety NZ