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New Navigation Safety Bylaws approved

December 14, 2010


New Navigation Safety Bylaws approved.

Environment Canterbury Commissioners approved new navigation safety bylaws aimed at ensuring public safety on the region’s lakes, rivers, harbours and coastal waterways at their public meeting today. 

The Environment Canterbury Navigation Safety Bylaws 2010 follow a review of the existing 2005 regulations which the regional council undertook earlier this year. Under the new bylaws, which commence on April 1, 2011, it will be compulsory to wear lifejackets in recreational craft under 6 metres. The new rules trialled at Lake Rūataniwha last summer have been formalised and will come into effect on December 17 this year (see details below). 

Environment Canterbury director regulation Kim Drummond said that the new bylaws address a number of safety issues raised by the public during the consultation period.

“A key objective of the new bylaws is that they are much easier for the public to understand with numerous changes to the wording, full colour maps and a user friendly format. They recognise the requirements of the different water users and clearly define areas which can be used by powered and non-powered craft, swimmers and paddled craft and access to the water,” said Mr Drummond.

 “It is important that the public is aware of what activity is permitted in each of the zones and the speed restrictions which may apply. Along with improving public education, Environment Canterbury staff and boating safety officers will be on the water this summer in an effort to maintain high standards of public safety.” 

Mr Drummond said the new bylaw making it compulsory to wear lifejackets when on small craft is consistent with Maritime New Zealand’s proposed National Rule and all of those who made submissions to the bylaws supported the change.

The Lake Rūataniwha bylaw includes almost all the changes which were trialled last summer, including closing The Bay area of the lake to powered craft, new zones for launching and landing of water skiers and the removal of the jetski only area. The one variation is to increase the slow speed (5 knot) margin around the lake edge to 100 metres, from the 50m which was tested. 

Commissioners also approved a future review of the bylaws for the Dobson, Godley, Hopkins and Macauley Rivers. This follows a request from the Department of Conservation for a seasonal restriction of power craft (jet boats) to improve the safety of staff working in those river beds and to reduce impacts on endangered braided river birds at critical times. The review will be undertaken prior to next summer.


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