Feedback needed on Auckland’s water safety rules

Auckland Council is proposing new rules to help keep people safe on the water. Photo supplied Auckland Council

To help keep everyone safe while out on the water, Auckland Council has rules to minimise accidents and other risks.

These rules are contained within the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2014, which expires next year.

The council is proposing a new Navigation Bylaw 2021 to update it. Public consultation on the proposal is now open.

“Every day people use our region’s navigable waters for both recreation and business – swimmers, boaties, kayakers, jet skiers and others all enjoy time on the water as well as businesses who ferry people and transport cargo,” says regulatory committee chairwoman, councillor Linda Cooper.

“We are inviting Aucklanders to have their say on how we best strengthen these rules with a number of amendments and clarifications to the bylaw, such as updating the rules so all vessels must carry at least two independent forms of communications, like a radio transmitter and a phone, at all times.”

Based on a range of specialist views, the council is also seeking public feedback on a proposal to increase the maximum speed limit for vessels within the inner Waitemata Harbour for more efficient travel.

Consultation on the proposed new bylaw is open from November 16 until February 14 next year.

The views of Aucklanders and further analysis will be considered before the bylaw is finalised.

The council wants to clarify and strengthen the bylaw to better minimise the risk of accidents, nuisance, and damage on Auckland’s navigable waters by making a new Ture ā-Rohe Urungi Āhuru / Navigation Bylaw and associated controls.

The new bylaw aims to:

  • Amend existing rules about carrying a means of communication on a vessel, to carrying at least two independent forms of communication on a vessel
  • Increase the maximum speed limit on the Waitematā Harbour Zone (between the harbour bridge, North Head and Tamaki Yacht Club) to 18 knots (currently 12 knots)
  • Clarify existing rules, including about swimming, events, and support vessels
  • Make new rules about vessels such as motorised surfboards
  • Align rules about the use of Ōrākei Basin with current accepted practices
  • Remove rules about Commercial Vessels for Hire and Reward as this is addressed in separate legislation (Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016)
  • Remove rules about speed around marine mammals as this is better addressed under the Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978
  • Update the format and wording of the bylaw and associated controls.

How to have your say

The council wants public feedback on the proposal. People can make their voices heard on the proposed Navigation Bylaw and associated controls from November 16 until February 14 next year.

Search for the bylaw on akhaveyoursay.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information and how to have your say including online, in-person or by phoning 09 301 0101.