Watch out for ships

Large ships need plenty of manoeuvring room and they cannot stop easily. Bay of Islands and Whangārei harbours are busy and require extra vigilance.

  • All boats must keep well clear of ships over 500gt navigating within Northland harbours
  • When fishing in the main shipping channel allow plenty of time to move away when a ship approaches
  • Do not try to cross the bow of manoeuvring ships – they accelerate quickly and may not see you
  • Always display lights when it is dark or visibility is poor
  • Cruise ships entering and leaving the Bay of Islands take the same route through the Bay (refer to map below) – keep clear if a ship is moving through the Bay, and do not anchor in the Waitangi sector light
  • Be diligent and keep a careful look out early morning and late afternoon when the cruise ships normally transit.
  • Check out this year's cruise ship schedule at

No anchoring in Waitangi sector light

Anchoring is legally prohibited in the Waitangi sector light zone (see map below) when big ships are moving in and out. For your own safety – and that of the ships – it is advisable not to anchor in this sector light zone at any time.

Waitangi sector lights map.