SAFETY REPORT October 2015:

JET BOATING on the Motueka and Buller rivers.

The club strongly opposed an amendment to the speed by laws on rivers in the TDC area. We made a submission and raised real concerns for safety of paddlers on these rivers. Although we were informed it would be sometime before any action was taken, surprisingly at the end of September we received the following from the TDC harbour master;

Thank you for your submission on the Navigation bylaw review, your input is greatly appreciated and I hope you find that the new bylaw a well balanced document that will greatly add to Navigation Safety in the Tasman District. Council adopted the new bylaw at a meeting on 24 September 2015. They subsequently agreed that the bylaw would come into force on the 28 September 2015

In total 212 submissions were received. In response to the submissions and advice from Maritime NZ, our legal team and the Council Hearing Panel, some changes were made to the original draft bylaw. The more significant changes are shown below:

  • Kaiteriteri water ski area, (Bylaw 3.7, and Schedule 2 clause 5 (a))Many submitters were concerned with the proposal that waterskiing would be moved from the existing area at Kaiteriteri to a point adjacent to Little Kaiteriteri.  After hearing and reading the submissions, Councillors agreed that the rules that have been used for the last three years (under a Harbourmaster’s special direction) be adopted into the bylaw. This means that Little Kaiteriteri will not be used as a waterskiing reserved area.
  • Seasonal speed uplifting (Bylaw 3.3.6 (b), and Schedule 2 clause 6).  This has been provided to jet boaters on the Buller river between the 1 May and 30 September, for the waters of the main branch from the Harleys Rock Road Bridge to the Mangles confluence when the flow at Longford exceeds 60 Cumecs.
  • Speed uplifting (Bylaw 3.3.6 (b), and Schedule 2 clause 6).  This has also been provided for jet boaters on the Motueka River but only when the flow at Woodmans bend exceeds 50 Cumecs.

A number of proposals for Water Ski Access Lanes, Access Point Transit Lanes, and Kite Boarding Areas have not been carried over into the new bylaw (see figures 3 to 21 in the new bylaw).

Other significant bylaw actions that will be in place as from the 28 September are:

  • A new Access Point Transit Lane (Bylaw 3.7, and Schedule 2, clause 5(d)) has been established in Anchorage Bay, Browns Beach.  This is now a restricted anchoring area and will allow unobstructed access to and from the beach by vessels at a maximum speed of 5 knots.
  • Port Motueka now has a Transit Lane (Bylaw 3.7, Schedule 2, clause 5(e)) that provides a reserved area for vessels travelling in the access channel. Vessels will now be able to travel at a maximum of 15 knots.
  • A new wake rule (Bylaw 3.4) has been brought into place for commercial vessels.

Further information on these points and the other bylaw outcomes can be found by looking up the Navigation Bylaw document on the Tasman District Council website or contact the Harbourmaster:

Hard copies of the bylaw document can be seen at Tasman District Libraries (Richmond,  Motueka, Takaka and Murchison).

Yours sincerely

Dan Cairney


The club has been totally taken back about what the TDC has approved here. We are at a loss as to how to oppose this any further. We therefore want to draw your attention to this and as always encourage ongoing vigilance and awareness of all hazards on our waterways, including now other fast moving boats on the river. Special attention on bends or with rapids that can not be seen fully from either up or down stream as the nature of jet boats means they can appear quickly limiting time for either party to act quickly, or safely and avoid a collision.

Take care out there, happy paddling.

Karen Bruce

Safety Officer.