Media release

ORC to consult on Lake Dunstan’s inclusion in Navigational Safety Bylaw

Tuesday 10 March 2020

ORC’s bylaw must be amended in order to reverse the transfer of Maritime Delegation which previously delegated harbourmaster responsibilities on Lake Dunstan to the Central Otago District Council.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) began consultation today on proposed amendments to the ORC Navigation Safety Bylaw 2019. The amendments are required before ORC can reverse the transfer of harbourmaster responsibilities and delegation for Lake Dunstan from the Central Otago District Council (CODC) back to ORC.

ORC is currently responsible for maritime safety in all inland waters and all coastal waters out to the 12-nautical limit of the territorial sea of Otago, except for Lake Dunstan and the Queenstown Lakes area, which is administered by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

ORC Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook said that under the proposed changes, ORC’s bylaw would be extended to include Lake Dunstan, with some implications for people currently operating under CODC’s bylaw.

“Essentially, we’ll be looking to apply the rules in our bylaw that took effect last year to include Lake Dunstan. There are a couple of key differences from the existing CODC bylaw, namely around lifejackets and vessel identification.

“The current CODC bylaw requires lifejackets to be worn at all times, but ORC’s bylaw gives skippers the discretion to let people remove their lifejackets.

“There’s also currently no requirement under the CODC bylaw for vessels to be identified, which is a requirement under our bylaw that we’re proposing to extend to Lake Dunstan.”

Mr Rushbrook said the move would enable greater consistency across the region and with neighbouring regional councils.

Consultation on the proposed changes to the bylaw and the reversal of transfer of delegation is open from today until 10 April. To find out more, and to lodge a submission, visit

Submissions will be considered by a hearings panel, who will make a recommendation to the Council in relation to the amended Otago Navigational Safety Bylaw.

CODC moved to relinquish harbourmaster responsibility at a meeting in August 2019, and ORC resolved in September to reverse the delegation. CODC previously held the responsibility since 2006, and updated its own Navigation Safety Bylaws in 2017.

ORC’s Otago Navigational Safety Bylaw became operative in May 2019. It can be viewed online at