What others do
Other organisations are also working to care for the region’s harbours, lakes and wildlife.
Queenstown Lakes and Lake Dunstan
These areas are managed by the relevant district councils, who have appointed their own harbourmasters:
Queenstown Lake District
Queenstown Lakes District Council Harbourmaster - 03 442 3445 or 0274 345 289.
Central Otago District Council Harbourmaster - 04 3 440 0056 or 027 437 6933.
Day-to-day activities in the commercial port areas of Otago Harbour area managed by Port Otago Limited. In Oamaru Harbour, all activities are managed by Waitaki District Council. In both cases, the ORC Harbourmaster has oversight of maritime safety.
Harbour Control (Port Otago Limited)
Port Otago Limited runs Harbour Control – they maintain VHF ship-to-shore communication systems, with a continuous 24-hour listening watch on VHF radio channels 16, 14 and 62.
- VHF Channel 16: Emergency channel
- VHF Channel 14: Commercial vessels working channel
- VHF Channel 12: Tug working channel
- VHF Channel 62: Recreational and local fisherman's operating channel
- VHF Channel 22: Recorded weather information
Note that there is incomplete VHF coverage around coastal waters.
Addtional contact points
Telephone: +64 3 472 9882
Telephone: +64 3 472 7890
Telephone: +64 3 472 9876
Shipping & cruise ship schedules
Port Otago has all the information you need on Otago Harbour’s shipping and cruise ship comings and goings.
Check out the Port Otago website for up to date schedules here.
Wind site, tide, rain and air pressure readings for Otago Harbour and can be found here.
Department of Conservation (DOC)
DOC has responsibility for marine mammals and marine reserves.
Alert the Department of Conservation to a whale stranding, seal in distress or suspicious activity inside a marine reserve, by calling 0800 DOC HOT (362 468).
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)
Recreational fishing rules and limits
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) provides lots of free ways to check the fisheries rules. This includes a free text service, a free Smartphone app, or visiting their website or offices. Fishing is one of New Zealand’s most popular outdoor activities. To keep the fisheries sustainable MPI sets recreational fishing rules. By sticking to the rules and fishing responsibly, fishers help make sure that there will be fish today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
Free text the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. blue cod or paua) to 9889 and receive legal size and bag limit via return text.
Visit www.mpi.govt.nz for more information.
Why recreational fishing rules matter
Fishing is one of New Zealand's most popular outdoor activities. To keep the fisheries sustainable MPI sets recreational fishing rules. By sticking to the rules and fishing reaponsibly, fishers help make sure that there will be fish today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
MPI is also responsible for protecting local fisheries and stopping illegal activities such as poaching. To do this, MPI needs you to report any suspicious or illegal activity in your area.
If you see people acting illegally, taking more than their daily limit or undersized fish or selling or trading their catch, please report it. Any information provided stays completely confidential.
Report poaching, suspicious or illegal activity by calling 0800 4 POACHER (0800 476 224).
Coastguard is a charity, run by volunteers, dedicated to saving lives at sea. They have units placed along New Zealand's coastline and major lakes and rivers. Coastguard units consist of vessel crew, communications volunteers, air patrols, incident managers and essential support crew.
The coastguard functions rather like an automobile breakdown service, entitling you to free mechanical assistance. Boaties can become a member at www.coastguard.nz/membership/.
There are four branches in the Otago region:
- Wanaka lakes
For marine emergencies please dial 111 / VHF Channel 16. For other on-water assistance please call *500.
Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA)
Find out more about beach and fresh water quality near you: https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/otago-region.