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Navigation Safety Bylaw

Bay of Plenty's harbours, lakes and rivers are used by thousands of people every day for a wide range of activities. To help ensure these activities can co-exist safely, rules are set under the Navigation Safety Bylaw to help manage them. A copy of the existing Bylaw can be found here. 

Regional Council is required to review this Bylaw every five years, and this gives us the opportunity to take a closer look at what’s working well and what needs to be refined in the existing Bylaw. This most recent review started in December 2015. After a lengthy review process, the new Bylaw was adopted at a Council meeting on 14 February 2017. A copy of the new Bylaw, which will come into effect on 1 July 2017, will be made available as soon as possible. To learn about the review click here.

While the majority of the clauses from the existing Bylaw were carried through to the new Bylaw, the key changes are detailed below. Please note this is not a full list of all changes. You can read independent commissioners report and recommendations which council adopted here.

  • People on board a vessel 6m or less must now wear a lifejacket unless the skipper, who is over the age of 15, has assessed the risk and specifically authorised that it is not required to be worn.  There are a number of exceptions to the rules, such as the need to wear lifejackets in times of heightened danger, and these have not changed.  
  • All Personal Water Craft (jet ski) used in Bay of Plenty waterways will need to be registered with the Regional Council or other participating Council. This will ensure operators causing a nuisance, as well as stolen vessels, are easier to identify.
  • A moving prohibited zone has been established for large vessels over 500 gross tonnes in Tauranga Harbour. This means that in the main navigation channel boaties are not allowed to navigate 500m in front of, and 50m each side of, these large ships.
  • For safety reasons, The Hunters Creek ski area will now be closed to ski traffic two hours either side of low tide.
  • Boaties are not permitted to anchor in the same area of Tauranga Harbour for more than 14 consecutive days.
  • Boaties are not permitted to secure their boat to a mooring without permission of the owner.
  • To help with the identification, powered vessels over 4m, and non-powered vessels over 6m, are now required to be named.
  • To reduce confusion between a passive recreation area, a definition for a Non-Water sports Area has been added to the Bylaw. A Non-Water sports Area, is an area that is not allowed to be used for more active water sports like water skiing, using personal water craft or other high impact recreational activities.

To ensure popular boating spots are shared safely, new reserved areas have been added and minor changes made to some existing ones too. These include:

  • New reserved area for swimming at Lake Aniwaniwa
  • New reserved area for swimming in Whakatāne Harbour
  • Adjustment to the reserved area in Matutu Arm, Lake Rotoiti
  • New non-watersports area at Waipu Bay in Tauranga Harbour
  • Limited speed uplifting for jetboat operator on Lake Rotorua