A "no excuses" approach is being taken as Maritime New Zealand targets boaties in its latest safety campaign.
Harbourmasters around the country are issuing instant fines to those who break the rules around lifejackets and speed.
Councils nationwide are carrying out random checks as part of Maritime New Zealand's "No Excuses" campaign.
Auckland maritime officer Kain Grant says no matter where you are in New Zealand you either have to have lifejackets on board, or be wearing them, and make sure you have enough on board for all sizes and ages.
Boaties face spot fines of up to $300 for breaking the rules over things like speeding and lifejackets.
And if the gear is not up to scratch the harbourmasters can even sell you one.
"We have, I guess, a risk demographic that has existed for a long time. That's the older age males, so males over 40 years of age seem to feature in our fatalities more often than not," Baz Kirk of Maritime NZ said.
On average around 20 people are killed in recreational boating accidents each year in New Zealand, most of them on coastal waters. And up to two-thirds of those lives could have been saved if people were wearing life jackets.
Figures this year are well down, at four deaths so far.
But Maritime New Zealand says that's still too many.
"It's definitely a lot of improvement from the last few years. Compliance has almost tripled," Mr Grant said.
Wellington and Canterbury harbourmasters are also reporting low rates of offending.
Each council will carry out five days of targeted checks over the summer.
But boaties won't get a heads up on the dates.