Boat Safety

Boating is a popular summer activity in our district, but it's important you know the rules and how to be courteous of other boaties.


In our district, it's compulsory to wear a lifejacket at all times when on any boat six metres in length and under.


Safety is no accident. We've got some simple advice below to help you and your family stay safe in the water during the summer months:

  • Know what to do in an emergency. If you have a phone, dial 111 and ask for Police. If you’re out on the water and have a VHF radio, call Channel 16 and issue a Mayday call by saying “mayday, mayday, mayday” three times and state your vessel name and location. Then repeat.
  • For non-emergency Coastguard matters such as a broken-down vessel, call *500.
  • Check your boat, engine and equipment before heading out onto the water.
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving.
  • Always tell someone where you're going and when you plan to return.
  • Know the rules – get a copy of the Waterways Bylaw.
  • Never overload the boat.
  • Make sure there are enough lifejackets on board for everyone on the boat.
  • Make sure you have an anchor, bailer, spare fuel, torch and warm clothing on the boat.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Always have two means of communication, for example - a mobile phone and flares.

Queenstown Coastguard 24 Hour Call Centre

Queenstown Coastguard has a free 24 hour call centre service for non urgent but assistance required calls.

If you need Queenstown Coastguard assistance on the water, please dial *500 on your cellphone. This will be answered by Coastguard's 24hr call centre, where they will take the call, activate pagers and get you the assistance required.

Please note: *500 only works from a cellphone.

For all emergencies, please call 111.

Instant Fines

Legislation allows the Harbourmaster or his team to issue instant fines for 59 water safety breaches.