Crossing a bar is one of the riskiest things you’ll ever do, no matter how experienced you are.

There are three types of bar crossings – dangerous, very dangerous and extremely dangerous.

  • Check the weather within 12 hours of heading out.
  • Check the tide – always avoid low tide.
  • Talk to a local about the bar conditions.
  • Tie down any loose objects such as anchor and ropes.
  • Everyone must wear a lifejacket.
  • Contact Coastguard on VHF immediately before you cross and after you’ve  successfully crossed. 
  • Avoid ebb or falling tides (between high tide and low tide, when water flows away from the shore).

Bowentown Heads, Tauranga Harbour

Crossing the Bowentown bar is a whole lot safer thanks to some clever blue lights that have recently been installed on two existing beacons either side of the Bowentown bar. The lights are activated when it is deemed unsafe to cross. 

Check out distress signals.