Environment Canterbury’s Recreational Boating Officer Evan Walker spent four days in December maintaining the navigation buoys around the Canterbury region in readiness for the summer boating season.
Mr Walker says buoys, along with signs, are an important way to give advice to the boating public.
“They educate the public of the local and national boating safety rules. They mark speed limits (particularly where the 5 knot speed limit applies), ski lanes, and various reserved areas for example where no power boats are allowed” he says.
“Maintenance involves lifting and cleaning the buoys and their moorings as well as replacing worn or corroded components annually. We monitor them regularly and fix the buoys if they have been moved, damaged or are heavily weeded” he says.
Mr Walker says there are 175 buoys to be maintained in total in the Canterbury region - 30 in Akaroa Harbour, 33 in Lyttelton Harbour, 82 in the Waitaki Lakes and another 30 in other areas.
Buoys act an advisory to boaties when out on the water. Mr Walker says “there are also a number of buoys that act as a critical navigation safety marker (such as South Bay in Kāikoura) which tell boaties of dangerous rocks, and by colour, which side they should be passed, to avoid the danger. In some areas they are used as targets for those doing swim training.”
Mr Walker says we get requests to put more buoys in and boaties find them useful, but it is an offence to interfere with the buoys or cut too close to them. They have wire or chain moorings so if boats go too close they will damage their propeller.
Buoys are an important navigational device and are there to ensure boating safety for all. Maps which show reserved and restricted areas which are mostly marked by buoys can be found in the Navigation Safety Bylaws and can be accessed online.
Alternatively, you can request a hard copy of the documents from Customer Services on 03 353 9007 or toll-free on 0800 32 4636. Environment Canterbury staff and boating safety officers will be out and about on the water throughout the season to educate boaties on the bylaws and promote public safety.