If you are out enjoying the region's lakes, rivers and harbours, make sure you know the navigation and safety rules. 

Skippers or drivers of any powerboat capable of speeds in excess of 10 knots must be 15 years of age or over. It is the skipper's responsibility to ensure the safety of the craft and crew on board. This includes knowing and understanding the rules of the road at sea. If you have an accident, ignorance of the rules set by the Navigation Safety Bylaw is not accepted as an excuse.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has a statutory role in ensuring maritime safety in its region by developing Navigation Bylaws under the Maritime Transport Act 1994. These Bylaws are in place to minimise the risk of fatalities, injuries, nuisance, accidents, collisions, and damage in the Bay of Plenty navigable waters.

The Local Government Act 2002 requires Council to undertake a comprehensive review of its bylaws every ten years so an internal review of the effectiveness of the existing Bylaw is currently underway.

In 2023 we will be consulting on the new draft Regional Navigation Safety Bylaws.  If you have feedback or an enquiry in the meantime, please email navsafety@boprc.govt.nz.


What you need to consider when choosing and wearing your lifejacket.


When on the water, you must travel at a safe speed at all times. 

Water skiing

Rules that apply when you’re towing someone behind your boat, Jetski or other personal water craft.

Kayaking and paddleboarding

Some simple tips to keep you safe when you head out on the water on your paddleboard or kayak.

Name your boat

Thinking of buying a boat? Make sure you’ve got a name picked out!

Lights at night

Not using lights is dangerous and could result in a fine. Not using lights is dangerous and could result in a fine.

Register your jetski

All jetski and other personal water craft (PWC) using Bay of Plenty waterways need be registered.

Give way rules

The ‘give way’ rules depend on what type of boat you’re on and the type of boat you’re approaching.

Important safety rules:

5 knot marker

Okawa Bay rule

Okawa Bay is a five knot zone unless towing in the designated ski area, hence, all other boating, jetskiing or swimming activities must be contained within the perimeter area.

warning sign

Gnarly Gorge rule

For safety reasons, all vessels (including kayaks) are prohibited in the section of the Kaituna River named Pari Tūkino (commonly known as Gnarly Gorge) from 1 May 2019 for six months. Read the background to this decision and the Harbourmaster's direction.

warning sign

Hunters Creek rule

For safety reasons, the Hunters Creek ski area is closed to ski traffic for two hours either side of low tide. During this time the five knot rule applies.