Recreational Water Activities

Safety first when fishing from rocks

Rock fishing is an increasingly popular recreational past-time. Unfortunately, every year, on average, four rock fishers drown after they are swept off the rocks by large waves.

Remember the following when rock fishing:

  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Pay particular attention to swell and tide information.
  • Never fish in exposed areas during rough or large seas
  • Spend at least ten minutes observing the sea conditions before approaching the rock ledge
  • Never turn your back on the sea
  • Pay attention to warning signs
  • Never fish from wet rocks where waves and spray have obviously been sweeping over them.

Surfing Safety Checklist

Nine simple checks for safe surfing:

  1. Always surf outside the Flags, as this is a safe area for swimmers.  Follow the advice of our lifeguards.
  2. Surf with a mate, especially in a big swell. Surfers look out for one another.
  3. Tell someone you’re going surfing. Let someone know when and where you are going out and, importantly, when you expect to be back.
  4. Check weather and tides.  Before you set out, check the local forecast for wind, swell and tide.
  5. Know your limits.  It’s easy to be caught out. Don’t challenge yourself too early and know your limits.
  6. Be aware of rip currents - Learn more here...
  7. Always wear a leash so you don’t become separated from your board.
  8. Wear the right wetsuit.  Wear an appropriate wetsuit for surfing. As well as keeping you warm, wetsuits give some added protection from scrapes on rocks or impacts from other surfboards.
  9. Understand surf etiquette and rights of way and consider other surfers and water users.

SUP Safely Code

  1. Always wear a leash
  2. A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) will greatly increase your survival time in the water should you become separated from your board.
  3. Know the conditions, weather, wind strength and direction (now and forecast), tide height and flow, and water temperature.
  4. Carry two forms of communication.
  5. Even if you’re paddling with others (always safest!), make sure someone onshore knows that you’re on the water, where you’re going and how long you will be.
Click here for further information from New Zealand SUP
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Be Safe - Be Seen


These fun boats are common on lakes, rivers and around the coast. Used properly, they 
are very safe, but their limitations need to be understood.

When kayaking in areas used by other craft, make sure you will be seen. A kayak can be almost invisible to skippers of other craft. Wearing bright clothing, having brightly coloured paddle blades with reflector strips, and displaying a very bright orange or red flag about a metre above the water on a rod will greatly reduce the chance of being run down accidentally.

  • Only experienced, fit paddlers should use a kayak in rough water.
  • Kayaks can easily capsize. It is essential to have buoyancy fitted to make sure it stays level so it can be re-boarded.
  • Always wear a buoyancy-vest or life jacket designed for kayaking.
  • Make sure you do not become separated from your kayak following a capsize.
  • Between sunset and sunrise a kayak must display a white light. It can be a 360º (fixed white light or a torch, but a flashing light or strobe is not acceptable (strobe lights are used to mark a man overboard). The white light should be bright enough to be seen 2 miles (about 4km) away. Colours other than white are not allowed.
  • Get tuition at a kayaking club or with Coastguard Boating Education.

Kite Boarding and Wind Surfing

When kite boarding or wind surfing follow the key rules to keep yourself and other beach users safe.

  • Understand the safety practices
  • Know how to follow the rules of Kite Boarding or Kite Surfing
  • Know what safety equipment you may require before you start
  • Conduct a routine pre-flight safety check
  • Understand and practice what to do if you loose control of your kite or board - "Self Rescue"

Kite Boarding Handbook




Open Water Safety Code


  • Check the location, tide and weather conditions before you go
  • Wear a brightly coloured cap
  • Use an inflatable safety tow float

Watch Out

  • Swim with a buddy or in a group
  • Tell someone where and when you are going and your expected return time

Be Aware

  • Assess the water conditions & look for hazards
  • Swim outside high activity areas for craft e.g. boat ramps, ski lanes & harbour channels

Know your Limits

  • Test your ability in a pool before the open water
  • Learn how to safely rescue someone and signal for help

Open Water Swimming Safety Guidelines - Click here