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Boaties beware – significant rainfall creates new underwater hazards at the lakes

May 2023

Boaties using the Rotorua lakes are being asked to be extra careful around lake edges following recent heavy rain which has significantly raised lake levels, creating new underwater hazards. It has also left some ramps unusable.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Maritime Officer, Roly Bagshaw, is urging boaties planning to head to the lakes to be extremely careful around around lake edges where structures may be hiding beneath the surface.

“Several lakes are extremely full, meaning in some areas what were fences, seats and signs on the shore, are now underwater hazards. On top of this, the high water and weather has moved many navigation aids such as the 5 knot buoys.  We are working to get these reinstated, but while this is happening, please remember to observe the 5-knot rule within 200m of shore and keep your eyes peeled for unexpected hazards,” he says. 

Roly’s top tips for boaties heading to the lakes include:  

  • When putting your boat in the water, take care not to hit submerged signs and supporting structures
  • When navigating the lake edge, keep an eye out for sunken structures     
  • Keep an eye out for floating debris, including logs and broken structures
  • Consider how your wake is affecting property, as many areas are suffering flooding and erosion from wave action.

For more information on safe boating visit