The Otago Regional Council regulates ports, harbours, waters, and maritime-related activities in Otago under the Maritime Transport Act (1994). We cover the Otago region, apart from the Queenstown Lakes District which has its own Harbourmaster under the district council. Head to Queenstown Lakes District Council to the contact the Queenstown Harbourmaster:

Our key functions are to:

  • oversee maritime safety
  • promote safe boating and maintain safe boating signage at local boat ramps
  • make sure navigation aids, lights and beacons are in place and maintained well
  • remove hazards, such as trees and abandoned vessels
  • work with water users and other stakeholders on matters related to the harbour and waterways
  • let boaties know about changes to local rules and regulations
  • work with Port Otago to keep commercial shipping and related activities in Otago harbour safe
  • respond to marine oil spill events
  • review applications to hold an event on the water
  • issue Harbourmaster instructions from time to time

Report a marine incident

If you encounter any incidents, report them promptly using the Otago Regional Council's incident reporting tool. For immediate help, know the right contacts: Harbourmaster for local issues, Coastguard for emergencies, and DOC for marine wildlife concerns.

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Visitor Mooring Bookings

Book and secure a visitor mooring at one of two spots at Otago Harbour for a maximum of 48 hours within a 30-day period for your vessel.

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Taieri Mouth Bar crossing and camera

Before crossing the Taieri Mouth Bar a bar, it's crucial to understand its current conditions. Bars can shift and evolve, so local knowledge is essential to avoid potential dangers. View the current conditions from the Taieri mouth bar camera.

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Commercial use of the coast and harbours

Our Harbourmaster ensures maritime safety along Otago’s coast and harbours, overseeing commercial vessels like cargo ships, cruise liners, and fishing boats.

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Marinas, boat ramps, and jetties

Whether you're a seasoned sailor or new to boating, this page offers all the essential information for a smooth and secure berthing experience in Otago Harbour (Dunedin) and Oamaru.

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Recreational water use

Whether you're paddling, powering, or anything in between, safety is paramount. Check out our advice on recreational boating basics to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Remember: prep your vessel, check your gear, know the rules, and always have a plan. Let's keep our waters safe for everyone.

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Report Pollution

If you observe any type of pollution in Otago, please contact our Pollution Hotline at 0800 800 033 or fill in the form on our Report Pollution page. Your information is crucial in helping us maintain a cleaner environment for everyone in Otago.

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Key contacts

Ensure smooth sailing with the right contacts! When to reach out to the Harbourmaster, how to contact the Coastguard, or where to find more information about berthage and moorings throughout Otago is all right here.

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Application to hold a special on-water event in Otago

Complete this form if you want to hold an event on the water in Otago.

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Queenstown Lakes Navigational Safety Bylaws

Read the PDF version of the Navigational Safety Bylaw 2018 from Queenstown Lakes District Council

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Aquatic pests

Know your hornwort from your lagarosiphon? ORC’s Biosecurity team actively combats freshwater pests to safeguard our waterways, including initiatives such as the Check, Clean, Dry program. Let’s keep our aquatic ecosystems thriving.

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Check, Clean, Dry

ORC’s Biosecurity team work hard to prevent freshwater pests from entering and spreading throughout our waterways.

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Page last updated 8 July 2024.