Hazards, boating notices and events

If you're planning an event out on the water, get in touch with us at harbourmaster@ecan.govt.nz

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

Hazards notified to the Harbourmaster's Office

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

29 September 2021

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

3 June 2021

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.

Motuanau River slip

Risk of exposed boulders on Waimakariri River

4 February 2021

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.

View the hazard area.

Historic fencing may pose risk in Canterbury rivers

5 January 2021

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 harbourmaster@ecan.govt.nz. 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

5 January 2021

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:

Rangitata river hazard location map

Various waterways in the Canterbury Region

1 November 2018

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

21 September 2018

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

30 January 2015

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

30 January 2015

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.


Temporary boating notices

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


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