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Slow down for safety in Whakatane Harbour

Tuesday, 8 November 2011 3:00 p.m.

Despite the recent focus on maritime safety in the Bay of Plenty, some people continue to ignore safety laws. 

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Group Manager for Environmental Hazards, Ken Tarboton said recent reports of vessels travelling at excessive speed in Whakatāne Harbour and the estuary was a real concern. 

"Vessels are restricted to a five knot speed limit when they are within 200 metres of the shoreline, or when they are within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water," Mr Tarboton said. 

"A rough guide is that five knots is about the same as a fast walking pace. 

"Even at five knots some vessels may produce a noticeable wake, which makes it difficult and dangerous for people working with vessels on the ramps and berths downstream, so these vessels should be slowing down even more to reduce their wake. 

"Concerned boaties and recreational users are contacting us to report people travelling in excess of the speed limit, which puts lives at risk." 

Mr Tarboton reiterated that the channel next to the Mataatua Reserve, between the game fishing wharf and the main commercial wharf, is designated as an engine warm up area for small craft travelling upstream which required particular care. 

"We urge people to take greater care on the water, and we will continue to monitor the area and enforce the law," he said. 

Mr Tarboton said the penalties within the bylaws are quite clear and people caught breaching them will be issued with an infringement notice and fine of $200. 

To download a copy of the Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2010 please click here, or call 0800 884 880 to request a hard copy.


For more media information, please contact Carol Nichols, Senior Communications Advisor on 0800 884 881, extension 8150.


Whakatane Harbour lowres