Summer News Letter Out Now
December 14, 2023
Help Create Rotoiti Emergency Plan
December 14, 2023
Show all

Christmas Harbour Master Update

30 November 2023

Christmas Harbour Master Update

This year we’re anticipating a busier than usual summer around the lakes region with the forecasted El Nino conditions hopefully delivering plenty of sunny days. El Nino also tends to bring typically strong westerlies and if previous years are any indicator that results in more of the coastal boaties coming to the lakes in search of calmer conditions. We also anticipate a displacement affect from Lake Rotomā’s high lake levels which are making launching and parking more problematic. The expectation is that Lake Rotoiti will be an obvious alternative.

With summer demand expected to be high we have undertaken a fair amount of navigation aid maintenance and signage audits. Replacing lights, cleaning buoys and straightening navigation poles (mostly in the Okere Arm and entrance to Te Weta Bay.) Due to storm events it is not unusual to have some of the buoys move or even break away. Please report any wayward buoys or markers to 0800 5KNOTS, we always appreciate these calls.

“Straightening and resurfacing south cardinal" and "isolated danger markers in the Okere Inlet”

As the summer season begins we are seeing more paddleboards and kayaks turning out for a freshwater dose, so it’s a great time of year to be reminded of some key safety messages. Front of mind for me is the requirement for everyone to have life jackets. If you are on a kayak or Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP’s) you MUST have a PFD (Personal Floatation Device) more commonly known as a lifejacket with you! There are lots of options these days with inflatable PFD’s being very comfortable and hardly noticeable when on.

Around the Lakes the weather can change very quickly, and these paddle craft are particularly susceptible to wind - especially the inflatable versions. When wind and wave combine both kayaks and SUP’s can become unstable and can flip and potentially blow away.

During October we had to assist three people caught out with rising winds and lake conditions. It was cold and their energy levels were getting low. This incident was a frightening reminder of how quickly things can go wrong and why a little safety planning prior to hitting the water just may save your life. Frankly it astounds me why paddlers would not take a lifejacket and wear it!

Maritime NZ have recognised the need for more education for paddleboarders and kayakers and produced two very good publications which I highly recommend. These can be found on the Maritime NZ website (search Paddlecraft).

For SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) around the lake, especially on an inflatable SUP, it’s highly advisable to be wearing a leash that connects you to your board. The last few paddlers we have spoken with haven’t had leashes, which raises concerns should they fall off in windy conditions and become separated from their board. Again, we recommend reading the Maritime NZ guidelines and make the basic safety messages part of the pre-launch checklist.

Our Maritime Patrols are now on the water educating and enforcing our local Navigational Safety Bylaws. For more information and to know the rules head to the BOPRC website or get a copy of our Boating in The Bay next time you see our patrols. There is signage also at each ramp so please take a moment to take in these key messages! All the best for the summer ahead everyone, lets make it fun and safe!