Navigation Safety Bylaw

Council adopted the Navigation Safety Bylaw 218 in November 2012 and it came into effect on 1 December 2012.  It has replaced the previous Navigation Safety and Recreational Marina Bylaws. Central Government has since approved the infringements in the Bylaw. (Download the list of infringement fees and full bylaw below.)

If you are a sensible skipper who makes considered decisions, knows the laws (both nationally and locally) and generally behaves on the water it is business as usual under the bylaw. However there are some things to be aware of:

  • Certain areas of the harbour are set aside for specified predominant recreational purposes (priority activities) as indicated by the maps in the Bylaw. These zones do not give sole right of use but when those priority activities are taking place other harbour users should act appropriately, e.g. avoid the area.
  • There is a Moving Prohibited Zone and Total Exclusion Zone around any vessel of 3000 GRT or more (the bigger size fishing vessels and up). This means big ships have exclusive rights to the cut and smaller vessels should not enter the cut when big ships are there.
  • A Harbour Transit Lane has been established allowing vessels to legally exceed 5 knots when transiting the port provided they stay on the red beacon side of the channel and do not approach within 50 metres of any other vessel within the transit lane or port. 
  • There is an exclusion zone of 50m around any of the wharves or vessels tied to the wharves. 
  • The person in charge of a recreational vessel that is less than six metres in length must ensure everyone of board wears a properly secured lifejacket unless:
    - the person in charge gives express permission for lifejackets not to be worn
    - the person in charge of the vessel considers that conditions are such that there is no significant risk to the safety of any person through not wearing a life jacket. (This puts the burden of safety and accountability squarely on the skippers shoulders so be sensible and ensure everyone wears a lifejacket).
  • Licenses are required from council to operate a commercial vessel.

The marina is included in this Bylaw.

Penalties and infringements are contained within the Bylaw.

More information

If you have any queries relating to the Bylaw please do not hesitate to email the Harbour Master at