All aboard for fun on the water

Since the earliest days of settlement on the Kaipara, boats have been at the heart of the region. From fishing to trade, exploration to just plain fun, the Kaipara Harbour — the largest in the Southern Hemisphere — has been both a nautical highway and a source of tasty seafood.

Today’s boats bear little resemblance to the hand-built wooden vessels of our ancestors — excepting those which have been lovingly restored of course.

And on board you’ll find a swag of new gear to help make every trip both safer and more enjoyable.

Electronics play a key role in the outfitting of an up-to-date vessel, and nothing displays this more readily than the technology deployed for both navigation and for finding those elusive big fish.

Wireless integration means that the simple fish-finder of yesteryear can now display up-to-the-second sonar based information of a colour screen, even onto a tablet or smartphone. Greater accuracy from these devices means it’s easy to pinpoint just where to drop a hook and make a big catch.

Global positioning satellites mean that, while it’s still highly recommended to know how to read a conventional chart, your position on the water and the sites of nearby hazards are at your fingertips and on screen. This could become a lifesaver if your co-ordinates are needed to effect a rescue in bad conditions, but even on the most leisurely cruise it’s good to be able to plot a safe course using these now ubiquitous eyes in the sky.

Vital communications have also been upgraded over the years, with new marine radios now able to offer clearer reception and better coverage. 

This is not just a safety feature — it also means it’s easier than ever to communicate with others out on the water. And with waterproof speakers, screens and media systems, there’s no reason not to enjoy your favourite fishing tunes while awaiting a bite. You can even watch a movie when it’s time to relax.

Modern applications like these — backed up by solar battery chargers and a new generation of longer life, smaller sized batteries — mean that the old world deprivations of a weekend on the water may be a thing of the past. Gas powered or electric fridges, more efficient chemical or bio-cycle toilets, and even miniature califont water heaters can transform your vessel into the equivalent of an RV on the sea. There’s virtually no limit to how far you may want to go in crafting the perfect home away from home — just talk to your local sporting goods store or chandlery for a vast array of options.


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