Marine pollution

Vessel sewage management

Under Northland rules, it's illegal to stay overnight in the marine pollution limits – even at anchor – without a proper way of treating or containing your boat's sewage. This means having (and providing proof if requested):

  • a well-maintained treatment system that complies with the Marine Pollution Regulations; or
  • a sewage holding tank, a portable toilet or a composting toilet; and 
  • regularly and legally pump out all the sewage from your boat’s sewage holding tank or portable toilet, at a sewage pump-out facility or when in waters seaward of the marine pollution limit. 

Can I discharge here?

Non-discharge areas and marina sewage pump-out facility locations

Our free offline Northland and Auckland Boat Discharge Rules app provides your location in relation to: marina pump-out facilities (Northland only), marine farms, anchoring restrictions, marine pollution regulation and limits (>500 metres (0.27 nautical miles) seaward from mean high water springs, in water depths greater than 5 metres) in both regions.

Follow these steps to download the App and follow the rules while out on the water.

Treat it, flush it offshore or pump it out

Untreated sewage from boats should be discharged well outside of harbours or at a marina pumping facility.

Marina pump-out facilities
For details on sewage pump-out facilities in Northland, check out the Northland and Auckland Boat Discharge Rules – app

Doves Bay pump out station and map of Northland's east coast displaying boat sewage pump out facilities.

Stop harbour pollution

In our harbours, untreated sewage can contaminate the shellfish we eat or make water unsafe for swimming for a long time after it's discharged.

If you’re a boat owner, help protect our harbours by disposing of your boat sewage properly.

Rubbish and waste from boats

Keep it stored and row it ashore (for legal disposal).

Plastics and oil cannot be discharged over board anywhere, anytime.

Food scraps under 25mm and beyond 3 miles from shore can be discarded.

Bay of Islands rubbish barge (summer)

Check out locations and timetable at

To report pollution, phone our Environmental Hotline on 0800 504 639.

Marine pollution rules

There are strict rules covering sewage discharges into Northland waters. Failure to comply with the rules is likely to result in formal enforcement action.

What is treated boat sewage?

Grade A or grade B? These two grades of treated sewage systems are described in the Resource Management (Marine Pollution) Regulations 1998.

Useful information

Auckland Boat Discharges Rules website

Environmental Hotline 0800 504 639