Rules & Regs in the Bay of Islands

There are several rules and regulations in force currently in the Bay of Islands that sailors need to be aware of, which are summarised in the map above. These include speed and lifejacket regulations, anchoring restrictions due to invasive exotic caulerpa, Marine Mammal Sanctuary regulations and fishing bans. Please be sure to familiarise yourself with the rules and regs in force, particularly if you are visiting from further afield as regulations may be different from your home waters.

Harbourmaster’s notice

Please remember the rules around safe speeds and lifejackets, which apply to tenders as well as big boats.

  • 5 knots within 200m of shore
  • 5 knots within 50m of another vessel or person in the water.
  • If travelling more than 200m lifejackets MUST be worn on vessels under 6m – this includes tenders.

Marine Mammal Sanctuary

There is a Marine Mammal Sanctuary in the Bay of Islands which has three key restrictions. These apply to all vessels while NOT racing. An exemption to the requirement for vessels to stop and 5 knot restriction is in place for racing at Bay of Islands Sailing Week.

  • No one is allowed in the water within 300 m of a marine mammal.
  • No vessel to approach within 300 m of marine mammals – if your vessel breaches the 300 m rule for a marine mammal you must stop. You must remain stopped until any marine mammals are at least 300 m away.
  • You must travel 5 knots or less at all times while within the marine mammal safe zones (marked green in the map above).

More info can be found on the DOC website here.

Invasive Caulerpa – anchor ban

If you are arriving early or staying on to cruise the Bay of Islands after Bay of Islands Sailing Week, please be aware there is an outbreak of invasive Caulerpa seaweed and an anchor ban is in place over Te Rawhiti inlet (marked red in the map above).

More info can be found on the NRC website here.

Fishing bans

The existing Deep Water Cove Rahui has been extended and now includes the coastline from Deep Water Cove to Oke Bay (marked in orange on the map). There is also a Rahui in place south of Russell (marked in yellow), and a ban on taking mussels from the outer Kerikeri inlet from Ninepin to Moturoa Island (marked in white).