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Recreation and navigational safety

Tauranga Harbour is the western Bay of Plenty's biggest playground. Hundreds of people use the harbour everyday, whether it be walking along beaches, watching birds, fishing, water skiing or kite boarding.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council work with you to ensure you make the most of your recreation time in and around the harbour. 

Harbour conditions

The Port of Tauranga provides information on the latest Tauranga Harbour conditions.

The Bowentown entrance to Tauranga Harbour can be viewed through the bar camera positioned at the Waihi Beach Coastguard building.

Map of Tauranga Harbour

Check out our map of Tauranga Harbour  (887 KB, pdf) (including Maketu, Little Waihi Estuaries and the Kaituna River) for a guide to the harbour, including entrances, location of boat ramps, wharves, jetties', water ski lanes and jet ski lanes and much more to make your experience in the harbour safe and enjoyable.

Tauranga Harbour GuideMap

Our Tauranga Harbour Guide (298 KB, pdf) gives more information on recreation:

  • Rules and regulations, collision prevention rules, buoys and beacons
  • Operating a vessel
  • Yachting
  • Water skiing
  • Diving
  • Sail boarding and kite surfing
  • Rowing
  • Other safety information -  navigation, life jackets, marine radio, safe boating checklists

Navigation and Safety

We are responsible for managing the safe use of vessels on the harbour. The Navigation and Safety Bylaws sets out the rules about vessel use in the harbour.

The Tauranga Coastguard  at www.taurangacoastguard.co.nz also gives advice and information on safety, weather and tides, radio channels and provides training and much more.

Swimming water quality

You can check how clean the water is for swimming. Water samples are taken regularly from popular swimming spots around the harbour throughout summer.

Water quality in the harbour is usually good for swimming at most sites. As a public health precaution, it is recommended that people avoid swimming in rivers, streams and harbour areas for 48 hours after heavy rainfall events. 

Events and Sporting Activities

The harbour is used for a large number of sporting and recreational activities. For information on upcoming events visit:

Who is involved in managing harbour recreation?

Bay of Plenty Regional Council (the harbourmaster's office) is responsible for approving events on the water such as triathlons, yachting, powerboat racing, swimming events and all related safety and event management.

Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council generally look after things on land. They provide facilities such as boats ramps and jetties. They also give approvals for land-based events such as triathlons on beaches and reserves.

The Ministry of Fisheries looks after all recreational fishing. They make and enforce the rules for catch and size limits.

Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy

In 2009, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council prepared the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy. The strategy sets out the things we need to do to better manage recreational use of the harbour.

One of the actions of the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Strategy is the establishment of a forum comprising relevant agencies, recreation groups, tangata whenua and community representatives.  These forums are called the Tauranga Harbour Recreation Users forums.

Recreational User Surveys

Recreational Surveys were completed in 2011.  These surveys helped us to find out more information and baseline data about who is using the harbour, what is working well, what the recreational pressures are and what improvements need to be made. 

Recreational user survey reports

Regional Coastal Environment Plan

The Regional Coastal Environment Plan contains rules about the types of activities that require consent. Most recreational activities do not need resource consent (but will still need a safe operational plan and approval from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council harbourmaster).