Local rules – areas to avoid

Under local rules, there are some areas you need to steer clear of in the Bay of Islands and in Whangārei Harbour.

Refinery prohibited area and northport exclusion zone

For your own safety and that of commercial traffic, keep well clear of the main shipping channel and also stay out of the following areas when fishing or boating around Marsden Point in Whangārei Harbour.

Northport exclusion zone and oil refinery prohibited area.

  • A permanent prohibited area exists around the oil refinery wharf (shown on chart NZ 5214).
  • A 100 metre exclusion zone is enforced around ships at the Northport berth when they are fumigating, bunkering or handling dangerous cargo. When the exclusion zone is in force, fluorescent ‘Keep clear' signs (by day) and flashing lights (by night) are displayed on the seaward side of the ship.

Prohibited area around Wave Rider Buoy system

A permanent no-go area has been established to protect sensitive wave-measuring equipment just outside the Whangārei Harbour. This equipment is used to determine whether oil tankers and other large ships can safely enter the harbour.

All vessels are legally required to stay at least 100 metres clear of the Wave Rider Buoy system. Vessels should not enter or leave the channel between the Fairway Buoy and No. 1 Buoy.

Prohibited area around Wave Rider Buoy system. Prohibited area around Wave Rider Buoy system.


Description: Navigational special mark. Special mark.

Description: Wave buoy. Wave buoy.