Introduction to the draft

almost 2 years ago


Under the Maritime Transport Act (1994), Otago Regional Council (ORC) has the authority to regulate ports, harbours, waters and maritime-related activities in the Otago Region.

Port Chalmers and Dunedin are busy commercial ports that are accessed by narrow waterways. Due to this, evasive action by ships may result in grounding with attendant risks to vessels, people and to the environment. For these reasons it’s important to manage the risks arising from shared use of these waterways by shipping and by recreational water users.

In recognition of the maritime safety risk profile, in 2017 ORC appointed a full-time professional harbourmaster who is based in Dunedin. In addition, ORC has embarked on a series of actions with the aim of putting in place a regime of maritime management that effectively manages risk and is consistent with good practice.

Coverage of the draft 2018 bylaw

Responsibility for managing maritime safety in waters of the Queenstown Lakes District and Lake Dunstan has previously been transferred by ORC to Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and to Central Otago District Council (CODC) respectively. This proposal addresses maritime safety in the remainder of the Otago region, including all navigable inland waters and all marine waters out to the 12 nautical limit of the Territorial Sea.

There is currently no navigation safety bylaw in place in these parts of the Otago region. A previous bylaw, issued in 2003, covered only Otago and Karitane Harbours and has since lapsed.

Bylaw preparation

In preparing this proposed bylaw the Harbourmaster has reviewed the navigation safety bylaws of QLDC and CODC and of the adjoining Southland and Canterbury regions. The lapsed 2003 Otago and Karitane bylaw was also reviewed.

A primary focus of the draft bylaw is recreational activities. ORC has drafted the bylaw with the objective of applying the minimum set of risk controls required for navigation safety. The bylaw sets out essential controls on practices for people using the waters of the Otago region.

Relationship to Harbourmaster Directions

A companion document, the Harbourmaster Directions, is aimed primarily at commercial shipping activities. Speed limits for all vessels in Otago Harbour are also set by Harbourmaster Direction.

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Consultation has concluded