Shallow conditions in the Bowentown entrance of Tauranga Harbour are creating potentially hazardous conditions for boaties.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster – Western Bay of Plenty, Jennifer Roberts said the Bowentown bar entrance has changed recently due to the movement of sand banks on the bar.
“The bar entrance has shallowed considerably which means that waves across the entrance can be more dangerous than usual,” Jennifer said.
“A half metre swell in the open sea will produce waves on the bar of well over one metre in height.”
Jennifer also said that boaties with GPS marks showing their usual channel over the bar should be aware that these marks may now lead them into danger.
“We have removed the yellow Special Mark that marked the bend or ‘hook’ in the entrance channel as the previous channel is now no longer safe to use.”
“The suggested passage across the bar at present is using the northern entrance around Mussel Rock, however this entrance is also shallowing and extreme caution is required.”
“The Safe Water Marker outside the bar will remain in place for now but will be monitored closely and may be moved if necessary,” Jennifer said.
All boaties crossing the Bowentown bar inwards or outwards should call Coastguard on VHF channel 85 and log a bar crossing report with Coastguard. They also need to advise Coastguard afterwards when they have safely crossed the bar.
Boaties who use the Bowentown bar will need to proceed with extreme caution as this bar is constantly changing.