Bay of Plenty Regional Council is reminding boaties that the flooding experienced during the past eight months has created a number of changes within the Whakatāne River entrance.
The most notable change is the expanse of open water to the west of the entrance channel.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster – Eastern, Brian Spake said the widening of this exit had meant the outgoing flows also exit to the west of the entrance channel.
“This widening has allowed sediment movement through both exits and has therefore reduced the flushing effect on the bar,” Mr Spake said.
Port operators, the Whakatāne District Council has maintained its sediment removal programme with the dredging boat Evelyn Jay to ensure the entrance is navigable for all vessels.
Mr Spake said that although it was usual at this time of year for the Whakatāne River entrance to be severely restricted to navigation due to tidal cycles, the dredging had ensured good depths of water through the bar.
“It is highly likely that the current La Nina weather patterns have contributed to this situation,” Mr Spake explained.
“An extensive survey of the Whakatāne River entrance was completed yesterday afternoon and we have been able to provide some figures for people navigating through this area.”
Whakatāne River bar information
The following figures are displayed in depths above chart datum (chart datum is a water level so low that the tide will seldom fall below it).
Boaties should add the height of the low tide level to give the actual available water depth over the bar at low tide.
The height of low tide at 11:20 am today is 0.6 metres giving a depth of 2.3 metres of water on the entrance markers (white triangle leads).
It is very unusual to see greater depths of water to the west of the entrance markers and similarly the informal dinghy channel.
Entrance markers 1.7 Metres
East of entrance markers 1.4 Metres
West of entrance markers 2.1 Metres
Dinghy channel 1.6 Metres