Waka Ama Water Safety Officer


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 the clubs Water Safety Officer. The Water 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 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 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
  • 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



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
  • and Maritime Laws

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.

Follow this link for a printable version: https://bit.ly/2XNGjCf


There are a number of courses available that may help the Water 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 http://www.boatingeducation.org.nz/courses/


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

Auckland: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

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

Waikato Region: www.waikatoregion.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

Nelson City: www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.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





MaritimeTransport Act 1994 [New Zealand Legislation: Acts]


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


See attached a number of resources that can be used as templates to support the water safety officer

*Please note we are going to add more resources to assist the club and water safety officer, if you have any questions or suggestions please contact admin@wakaama.co.nz


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Updated: Jul 3, 2019