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Navigation and Safety Rules

Navigation and Safety Rules

Updated 20 June 2017 9:45am

This section covers the regulations and legislation involved in the management of the Wellington's harbours and regional coastal waters.

Unsafe Boating and Harbour Use

To report any unsafe boating behaviour or harbour use, you can contact us on  04 388 1911 or 04 473 4547.

Restricted zone - Wellington wharves

Wellington Regional Harbourmaster Grant Nalder amended the seaside restricted zone alongside Wellington’s main wharves on 31 May 2017 which excludes boaties from the area following the November 2016 severe earthquake.

No vessel may enter into or remain within the area defined in the image without prior permission of the harbourmaster. The harbourmaster can by contacted at or 04 830 4160. Any vessel in this area should do so with caution.

The restricted area is the area of Wellington Harbour that starts from the south-east corner of the container terminal reclamation, through the Thorndon Pile Light to a point 200 metres east and then from there extending in a straight line to the mouth of the Kaiwharawhara stream.

Navigation and Safety Bylaws for the Wellington region

The bylaws are to ensure safe usage of the harbours and waters of the region. They apply throughout the waters of the region from the Otaki River Mouth, around to Cape Palliser and then up to the Mataikona River and extend to the coastal waters up to three miles offshore.This includes both Wellington and Porirua Harbours and Lakes Wairarapa and Onoke, but they do not cover the region's rivers.

These bylaws are made under the requirements of the Local Government Act 1974, and came into effect on 1 July 2009.

There is a summary the parts of the bylaws most relevant to recreational boating on our recreation pages.

For a full copy of the bylaws, download the PDF here, these are A4-sized. For a copy of the printed A5-sized bylaws and one of our boating safety packs please contact us, telephone 830 4160 or e-mail

Maritime Rule 91

This is the National Navigation Safety Rule, issued by Maritime New Zealand. It covers all of New Zelands waterways and provides a benchmark for regional bylaws.  Regional Navigation and Safety Bylaws may impose additional provisions above those required by Part 91.