Club Safety Officer

The following is a simple guide as to what should be done both on and off the water, to assist the club, employees, volunteers and the public in general to provide a safe Waka Ama environment.

Waka Ama New Zealand strongly recommends that each club puts in place a list of safety policies and procedures to assist your club. These could be a set of rules that clubs members agree to abide by, this would be monitored by a Club Safety Officer. 

The Club Safety Officer should be someone who is experienced with on-the-water and off-the-water safety elements.

There are a number of duties that a safety officer can carry out, this includes:

  • Waka equipment maintenance
  • A log book 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 (see Club Safety Kete here)
  • Ensuring compliance with New Zealand Maritime Rules 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 and off the water

Club 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
  • Making 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 on and off the water.


There are a number of courses available that may help the Club Safety Officer develop their knowledge and skills. These courses could be subsidised by the club or specific funding applied for to complete these courses; such as:

CBE Waka Ama Safety Basics

CBE Maritime VHF Operators course

CBE Day Skipper

CBE Boat Master

More information can be found here


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.

North islandSouth Island


Bay of Plenty Region:

Gisborne District:

Hawke's Bay:


Northland Region:

Taranaki Region:

Waikato Region:

Wellington Region:

Environment Canterbury:

Central Otago District:

Grey District Council:

Marlborough Region:

Nelson City:

Otago Regional Council:

Queenstown Lakes District:

Southland Regional Council:

Tasman District Council:

West Coast Region:




Maritime Transport Act 1994 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]

Local Government Act 1974 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]

Resource Management Act 1991 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]


The MarineMate smartphone app has local boating bylaws and information for most New Zealand regions.

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Updated: Sep 26, 2014