Located in the Bay of Plenty, the Whakatane Harbour is a river port primarily servicing a commercial and charter fishing fleet. Because of its proximity to rich inshore fishing grounds, the port also provides access for up to 15,000 pleasure vessel movements annually. Whakatane has a distinction of being the yellow fin tuna capital with the annual yellow fin tournament attracting up to 800 anglers.
Check out the Whakatane and Ohiwa Harbours Recreational Guide (2.6MB, pdf) which includes the Waioeka and Rangitaiki Rivers
The entrance to the Whakatane Harbour can be difficult and caution should be shown during all bar crossings.
Bar condition reports are broadcast on 90.5 1XX FM just after the local news on the hour and ½ hour, along with the marine forecast and sea conditions.
The Whakatane Volunteer Coastguard also broadcasts the status of the bar along with the marine forecast and outlook during the scheduled transmission times on channel 80 VHF which are as follows:
Daily (1) 0945 - 1015 hrs (2) 1345 - 1415 hrs (3) 1645 - 1715 hrs.
Coastguard operates from 0800 to 1800 hours daily.
A daily update of tide times, marine forecast, outlook, sea and swell conditions are indicated on a whiteboard at the boat ramp. Other safety information is also displayed. Please read this information.
If the Bar is considered unworkable by the Harbour Master, a red ball (day) or a red all round light (night) is exhibited on the signal mast towards the river mouth. This means stay at home. Navigation of the entrance is also constrained by water depth. Significant fluctuations in available water depth take place constantly. The local radio station 90.5FM 1XX include any navigation restrictions that may be in place during the bar conditions reports. Always remember, if you are in doubt - find out.
All navigation within the harbour is restricted to a maximum speed of 5 knots.