Cleaning your boat

Why clean my boat's hull?

A clean hull is important to help keep a vessel in good shape and improve its fuel economy and speed. Having a hull free from hitchhiking pests also helps protect Northland's precious marine environment.

How do I keep my hull clean?

Antifouling paint cover is the easiest way to do this and regular haul outs for cleaning your hull and reapplying antifouling is crucial. However, as the ingredients in antifouling paint – including copper – can harm marine life; they must be applied and removed with careful consideration.

Where can I clean my hull?

We advocate the use of dedicated boat maintenance facilities for routine maintenance, including hull cleanings between antifouling.

No hull maintenance can be undertaken on the foreshore, unless at an authorised facility, such a consented grid.   This includes the cleaning, scraping, sanding, blasting, painting or anti-fouling of a vessel hull on the foreshore.  These facilities have differing rules and it therefore pays to check these with the facility owner prior to use. 

Inwater hull cleaning can be undertaken in limited circumstances, as described below.

Inwater hull cleaning rules

Inwater hull cleaning can be an effective way to keep a clean hull and extend the period between haul outs.  It is a permitted activity (covered by both the Regional Coastal Plan for Northland and Proposed Plan for Northland), but there are a number of conditions.

  • The vessel has a hard antifoul, and
  • There is only light fouling* on the vessel hull and/or hull niche areas, and
  • The vessel has not been in foreign terrestrial water since it was last hauled and cleaned, and
  • The vessel is not longer than 25m, and
  • Non-abrasive cleaning methods are used so that the antifouling paint is not damaged, and
  • The vessel is within a Commercial Coastal Zone, Marina Zone, within 50 metres of a Mooring Zone or from a consented grid, and is not located within a Significant Ecological Area, see maps.

* Light fouling is 1-5% of visible surface covered by very patchy macrofouling or filamentous algae. Remaining area can be covered by slime.

If any marine pest is found, then all cleaning must cease.  Removal of a marine pest is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993 and our Regional Pest Management Plan. To report a marine pest please email marinebiosecurity@nrc.govt.nz

Before you clean

If – and only if – you meet the strict requirements for in water cleaning, there are still a number of factors to consider. Northland's marinas, wharfs, and jetties have their own rules too – check first. Don't work in busy areas like commercial wharfs and main channels. If you have a diver in the water, ensure you fly a dive flag, and have a lookout aboard to warn – and keep an eye out for – approaching vessels. If in doubt – haul out instead.

What are the penalties?

Ignorance of our rules is no defence. People illegally cleaning boat hulls risk fines of at least $750.

Boat maintenance facilities

Port Whangarei Marine Centre

340 Port Road, Port Whangarei

09 4303148 or 027 3517066

South Pacific Gateway Marina

Lower Port Road, Whangarei

09 438990 or 027 4658111

Oceania Marine

4 Fraser Street & 340 Port Road, Port Whangarei

09 4303148

Norsand Boatyard

10 Fraser Street, Whangarei

09 4308485 or 027 4913800

Riverside Drive Marina

52 Riverside Drive, Whangarei

09 4382248

Dockland 5

211 Port Rd, Port Whangarei, Whangarei

09 4388558

Marsden Cove Marina

48 Rauiri Drive, Whangarei

09 4327740 or 021 540888

Tutukaka Slipway

Tutukaka

09 4344150

Tinopai Slipway - Members Only

Tinopai

09 4316226 or email Dianne@ubernet.co.nz

Northern Wairoa Boating Club

Totara Street, Dargaville

09 4398098

Russell Boating Club

Matauwhi Road, Russell

09 4037222

Bay of Islands Marina

28A Baffin Street, Opua

094 027124

Doug's Boatyard

1 Richardson St, Opua

09 4027055

Bay of Islands Yacht Club - Members Only

Te Point, Waitangi

David Smith – smithybro9@gmail.com

Kerikeri Cruising Club

346 Opito Bay Road, Kerikeri

09 4076434

Hackett Landing Slipway

88D Hansen Road, Kerikeri

09 4077265

Mangonui Cruising Club

5 Silver Egg Road, Mangonui

09 4061499 / 0274485633 / 0800 468 000

Knight Engineering and Marine Ltd

141 State Highway 1, Awanui

09 4067287

Note: While use of these facilities is encouraged, you are still required to comply with their land-based rules and you're responsible for complying with the facility's rules and consents. 

Useful resources

Download "Safely using antifouling paints" from the Environmental Protection Authority website (PDF, 4MB)