Huge boating boom believed to be triggered by Covid-19 restrictions

Covid-19 restrictions are believed to be behind a huge boom in recreational boating, with many families taking to the water this long weekend.

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Coastguard is on track for one of its busiest years on record. Source: 1 NEWS

But with 70 calls being made to the Coastguard thus far and another day to go, this Labour Weekend could be one of the busiest on record for the rescuers.

Last year saw 70 Coastguard callouts over the three day weekend.

"Everybody's been really keen to get back out there and enjoy the sea and it's really driven the numbers to spike after the levels for the Covid lockdown were eased," Coastguard northern regional manager Rob McCaw said.

The biggest increase was in the number of serious rescue missions.

"Our category one rescue jobs is up around 12 to 14 per cent - that's where we are getting tasked by police to an urgent job where somebody's life is in danger," he said.

There's a concern, though, that 40 per cent of those needing help could not be found.

"That's a huge number, let alone the number of people, so what we're starting to see is people who aren't as used to being on the water as regularly are getting out there, and they are starting to get into trouble ," McCaw said.

Jason Snashall from Orakei Marine said boat sales have gone through the roof and there's now a shortage of brand new boats.

"Boat sales have gone crazy, so people without a boat are buying a boat, and people with boats are getting them all fixed up - so the service side of the marine industry is doing really well," Snashall said.

"Boat sales are doing really well - the biggest problem we've got is not enough stock."

Snashall said it's because people who would usually be holidaying overseas have decided to spend their money on holidays on the water.

It means marinas are reaching full capacity - and that situation's likely to worsen with the America's Cup approaching.

"There's going to be a bunch of new rules brought in about low speed zones, transit zones, low wake zones - these are all being finalised at the moment between the Harbour Master and America's Cup events and they'll be updated really soon."