Boat sewage

Boat sewage is a serious risk to human and animal health and the environment. 

To continue to enjoy Northland's coast and safely gather and eat kaimoana (seafood), our waters must be kept free of sewage. There are strict rules covering sewage discharges from boats in Northland waters – these apply to every type of boat or craft.

Can I discharge here?

Go to our online marine pollution map

Untreated sewage

Untreated boat sewage must be discharged well outside of any harbour or at a marina pumping facility (pump-out locations are shown below).

Map displaying pump-out stations.

For more details visit:

Why is boat sewage so bad?

Boat sewage is much more concentrated than sewage from land because it has not been diluted or treated. It is estimated that an untreated discharge from a single weekend boatie can put the same quantity of bacterial pollution into the water as the treated sewage from thousands of people on land.

Boat sewage can contaminate the water with long-living viruses and nasties which can cause harmful diseases, like Hepatitis A, or severe stomach upsets.

Shellfish can become unsafe to eat for weeks after exposure to sewage as they are filter feeders – they concentrate viruses and other nasties in the water. Shellfish in estuaries and bays are particularly at risk because any contaminated water in them usually takes longer to flush out.

Shellfish in hand.


Staying overnight on the boat

If you're staying overnight on the boat, you're required to have a holding tank or sewage treatment system on board (unless you're staying in a marina and complying with their rules).

Harbour maps – non-discharge areas

View maps showing illegal boat sewerage discharge areas and marina pump-out facilities for the following areas: Bay of Islands, Hokianga,
Houhora, Kaipara, Mangawhai, Mangonui, Ngunguru, Rangaunu, Whangārei, Whangaroa and Whangaruru.

QR code for harbour maps.


If you suspect a boat is illegally discharging sewage, phone the Northland Regional Council's 24/7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 504 639.