Hazards, boating notices and events
Here you'll find current information about hazards, temporary boating notices, Harbourmaster approvals and events in the Canterbury region.
Report an incident, accident or hazard
An incident may be bad behaviour on the water, an accident, a boat crash, and a hazard, a log sticking out of the water.
To report a hazard or unsafe behaviour out on the water, please get in touch with our Harbourmaster's Office:
Canterbury notices and events
These hazards are ones that are considered to be out of the ordinary for their location, rather than the kinds of things that any prudent vessel skipper or boatie would normally be looking out for. It should not be considered an exhaustive list of any and all hazards.
Lakes Opuha, Tekapo, Ruataniwha, Benmore, Aviemore and Waitaki
Recreational boaties should be extra careful when returning to all high country lakes, as the spring snow melt can dislodge large logs and debris from the surrounding hillsides.
Environment Canterbury Deputy Harbourmaster Gary Manch said after heavy rainfall or snow melting in the Canterbury high country, the debris can end up in various lakes used by recreational boaties, causing a potentially dangerous situation for anyone not taking proper care and lookout.
"The logs and debris can sit just a few inches underneath the water's surface and would cause considerable damage to any vessel that comes into contact with it," he said.
"Take it easy when you're coming back to the lake. Keep your speed low until you're satisfied there is no risk in the area you're boating."
Extreme caution advised on all Canterbury rivers affected by floods
Due to extreme flooding in the Canterbury area, all affected rivers may have hazards present that risk navigational safety. These hazards may be subsurface or barely visible, and extreme caution is advised over the coming months until detailed assessments can be made.
Hazards may include, but are not limited to, flood protection works that have been damaged and washed out rail iron that is now in flowing water.
There is also risk of landslips into rivers. Vessels should proceed with extreme caution on the Motunau River, as there is currently a landslip into the river on the northern side of the channel. Approximate location is marked below.
Risk of exposed boulders on Waimakariri River
After a significant flood event, parts of the groyne may be washed away exposing large bare boulders in the Waimakariri River on the bank of Keens Road, Springfield.
This could cause an underpinning hazard to river users, and this area of the groyne should be avoided. Repair work will be carried out in 2–3 weeks.
Historic fencing may pose risk in Canterbury rivers
Rivers including the Poulter, Waiau, Waipara and Okuku may be adjacent to historic fencing that could encroach on the waterways.
River users are advised to check the area they are boating in prior to using the river. Before entering the water please ensure you are aware of any hazards and take safety precautions to avoid getting entangled.
If you come across any man-made hazards on the river, please take a photograph with details of the exact location and send it to email@example.com. If you are also aware of the contact details for the adjoining landowners, please also forward this information. We can then update our hazards page so the public is aware of any action being taken to remediate the issue.
Boaties beware of submerged debris in Lake Aviemore
A sub-surface hazard approximately 4.5km upstream of SH1 Bridge has been notified by Transpower. River users are advised to navigate with extra caution in this area. Updates will be provided as the removal work progresses.
Transpower recently completed restoration work following damage to the Roxburgh to Islington transmission line, which was caused by the flooding of the Rangitata River in December 2019.
One transmission tower, Tower 771, had to be replaced in a new location. The damaged tower structure has been removed, however, due to river levels, the remains of the tower foundations have not been able to be retrieved. These are currently 1–2m below the surface.
When flow conditions are favourable, plans to remove the foundations will be put in place. The foundations are expected to be removed in early 2021.
A yellow buoy has been attached to the foundation and will be checked during regular line patrols. Coordinates of both the old tower and new tower are shown:
Various waterways in the Canterbury Region
Fluctuating water levels on various waterways, including rivers, lakes, and lagoons in Canterbury may result in fences, waratahs, or other objects being obscured from view and sitting below the surface. All water users are strongly recommended to exercise caution and keep your speed to 5 knots or less within 200 metres of the shore, unless the area is uplifted or has any other form of speed exemption. It is the responsibility of the skipper of the vessel to ensure that the area you are using is navigable and safe to transit.
Waimakariri River - exposed railway iron
We have recently discovered a line of old railway iron that has become exposed, which is in the central part of one of the main flows of the Waimakariri River, on the true right bank between the two lines of pylons just upstream of Haul Road (between 18.5km and 19km upstream of the mouth).
Depending on the current river flow, they may be visible above water level or may be submerged. River users, particularly jet boaters, are advised to take extreme caution in this area, or avoid travelling on this braid if possible.
These irons will be removed as soon as flow conditions allow. Please call 0800 324 636 with any questions.
Lower Clarence River / Waiau Toa - navigation safety hazards - sputniks
Sputniks are large concrete blocks with protruding steel beams that were historically used on rivers for bank protection. Many still exist on some rivers, including several in the lower Clarence / Waiau Toa, some of which are navigation safety hazards for those boating the river. For more information see the Sputniks notice (PDF 710 kB).
Brooklands Lagoon - submerged objects
Submerged and semi-submerged objects including tree stumps have been reported in the Brooklands Lagoon water ski area. Users of this area are advised to exercise caution as these objects may be difficult to see, particularly if navigating at towing speed.
Approvals or exemptions are issued to organisations by the Harbourmaster, pursuant to the Canterbury Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw 2016.
- Harbourmaster's Approval - French Farm Aquatic Club December 2018 (PDF File, 615.53KB)
- Harbourmasters Approval - Canterbury Jet Sport Authorisation Identification (PDF File, 465.19KB)
- Harbourmaster’s Approval - Canterbury Water Sports Club - 5 October 2017 (PDF File, 661.32KB)
- Harbourmaster's Approval for use of existing vessel ID system - Canterbury Outboard Boating Club
- Harbourmaster's Approval for use of existing vessel ID system - Lake Tekapo Powerboat and Water Ski Club Inc
- Harbourmaster's Approval for use of existing vessel ID system - Jet Boating NZ; Yachting NZ; Little Rakaia Boating Club
- Harbourmaster's Approval for use of existing vessel ID system - Surf Life Saving NZ
- Harbourmaster's Approval for use of existing vessel ID system - Surf Life Saving New Zealand
South Island Rowing Regatta Dates, Lake Ruataniwha, 2021/22
- 18-19 September: New Zealand Masters Championships
- 9 October: R2k Singles Regatta
- 9-10 October: Mainland Interprovincial Championships
- 30-31 October: Aoraki 1k Regatta
- 11-12 December: Meridian Otago Championships
- 15-16 January: Meridian Canterbury Championships
- 29-30 January: Meridian South Island Championships
- 11-13 March: Meridian South Island Secondary School Championships (lake closure the Saturday & Sunday only)
- 28 March – 2 April: Aon New Zealand Secondary School Championships (3 April spare day)
New Brighton Power Boat Club 2021/22 season
- September 19: Opening day/training day
- October 3: Club day
- October 17: Club day
- November 7: Club day
- November 20: Regatta at Lake Hood
- December 5: Club day
- January 16: Club day
- January 30: Club day
- February 20: Club day
- March 27: Club day
- May 8: Club day
- May 22: Closing day
Navigation Safety Alert: Jet Skis at Sumner Bay Beach
Since mid-2020, the Harbourmaster’s Office has observed numerous instances of unlawful jet ski activity within the Reserved Area of Sumner Bay.
Power-driven vessels are prohibited in the reserved area of Sumner Bay. No power boating is permitted from the beach out to 400m where the reserved area ends, unless transiting directly from or to the nearest point outside the reserved area.
The following information includes temporary regulations made under the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2016 and Controls (PDF File, 5.69MB) for specific short-term purposes, such as powerboat races or large-scale swim events. It also includes minor changes to Bylaw rules for particular areas the water user community has asked for and supports.
Temporary boating notices
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Wakeboard New Zealand - Lake Ruataniwha - 22 and 23 January 2022 (PDF File, 167KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - HEB Construction - Avon River - 24 November 2021 to 28 February 2022 (PDF File, 182KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Waimakariri River - 27 November 2021 (PDF File, 251KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Rapaki Bay - 30 August 2021 to 30 August 2022 (PDF File, 321.6KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - HEB Construction - Avon River 2 August - 30 November (PDF File, 301KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - HEB Construction - Avon River - 10 October to 23 December 2021 (PDF File, 273KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Fulton Hogan - Heathcote River - 9 September to 8 October 2021 (PDF File, 33KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Tekapo Reservation - September 2021 (PDF File, 1.06MB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Arawa Canoe Club - Waimakariri River - 15 January 2022 (PDF File, 209KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Coast to Coast - Waimakariri River 11-13 February 2022 (PDF FILE 228KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Sail GP - Mid-harbour area Whakaraupo Lyttelton Harbour 21-30 January 2022 (PDF File, 504.81KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Surf Life Saving New Zealand (PDF File, 180.32KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Kerrs Reach, Ōtākaro Avon River 12 December 2020 (PDF File, 1.3MB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Loch Laird, Mahi Tikumu (Lake Aviemore) from 20 November 2020 (PDF File, 295.49KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Lake Rua (Roto Kohatu) 29 November 2020.pdf (PDF File, 152.04KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Roto Kohatu (Lake Rua) powered safety vessel 12 and 19 December 2020 (PDF File, 159.58KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Cant Jet Sport Club Akaroa race end - 29 Aug 2020 - Annually (PDF File, 248.87KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Surf Life Saving New Zealand - 15 October 2016 (PDF File, 306.22KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Black Cat Cruises and Lyttelton Port Company (PDF File, 503.18KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Avon River Bylaw change to way river is used, Navigation Safety Bylaw 2016, Paul Fidow requested change through consultative process. (PDF File, 260.68KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate for Access Lane - Lyttelton Inner Harbour - 08 May 2019 (PDF File, 398.1KB)
- Temporary Exemption and Reservation Certificate – New Brighton Power Boat Club for Lake Forsyth in accordance with the Harbourmaster for the following dates: 6 October 2019, 20 October 2019, 16/17 November 2019, 8 December 2019, 12 January 2020, 18 January 2020, 19 January 2020, 9 February 2020, 23 February 2020, 22 March 2020, 26 April, 2020, 10 May 2020.
- Temporary Reservation Certificate Waitaki District Swimming Areas, Sailors Cutting and Parsons Rock - 26 December 2018 (PDF File, 191.93KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Christchurch City Council - Yearly reservation 2018 (PDF File, 253.1KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - CC Avon River (PDF File, 469.08KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Fit and Able (PDF File, 352.54KB)
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - New Brighton Power Boat Club - Power Boat Racing - Lake Forsyth/Wairewa
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Harbourmaster's Office - Speed Uplifted Zone for Lake Middleton
- Temporary Reservation Certificate - Harbourmaster's Office - Surf Lifesaving NZ