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Concern at marine safety breaches

Northland Regional Council’s deputy harbour master Laurence Walkinshaw says the community have an important role to play in holding people responsible for bad behaviour on the water

Mangawhai community members have raised concerns over breaches of maritime rules in Mangawhai Harbour amounting to dangerous behaviour putting both swimmers and property at risk.

Northland Regional Council’s deputy harbour master Laurence Walkinshaw says this inconsiderate and dangerous behaviour within the Mangawhai estuary is not unique to the area and council has been experiencing similar issues in other harbours too — especially in the Bay of Islands.

He says this area is extremely popular with visitors over holiday periods and long weekends, due to its proximity to Auckland and its sheltered nature.

“Unfortunately, as with any large group of people, it’s a relatively small minority, which is ruining it for others.” 

Mr Walkinshaw says the busy local harbour warden is aware of the issues and works hard to stay on top of them, but adds the public and local community also have an essential role to play in holding people responsible.

“The best way to assist is by submitting registration numbers along with photos — or preferably video — of any irresponsible behaviour.”

Mr Walkinshaw says the registration numbers of any jet ski, boat/jet ski trailer or vehicles involved are helpful to the council when captured in photos or footage.

“Meanwhile, for boat and jet ski owners themselves, it’s their responsibility to make themselves familiar with their obligations and responsibilities under our Navigation Safety Bylaw and ensure they’re conducting themselves in a considerate, safe and responsible manner. Ignorance is no defence and if caught acting irresponsibly, they can expect to be penalised accordingly.”

The Navigation Safety By-law can be found at

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