Media release: Recreational boaties snared

Thursday 29 March 2012, 1:08PM
By Bay of Plenty Regional Council


Recreational boaties are reminded to keep well clear of commercial fishing vessels, after two serious near-miss incidents in the eastern Bay in the past five months.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Eastern Bay Harbourmaster, Brian Spake said both incidents occurred when the anchors of recreational boats were caught up in the fishing gear of nearby commercial fishing vessels.

"These incidents are a frightening reminder for recreational boaties to anchor at least one nautical mile away from any commercial vessel in operation and keep a vigilant watch out," Mr Spake said.

"Commercial fishing vessels often have gear extending more than a kilometre away.

"In the two instances that have been brought to my attention, both commercial operators were legally going about their business and displaying the required lights and daymarks when they snagged recreational boats.

"Luckily, the boaties realised their vessels could be pulled under and took quick action, which probably saved their lives - and the commercial vessels steamed on totally unaware of what had occurred."

Mr Spake said that it was important for boaties to report all incidents and near-miss situations to the local Harbourmaster and Maritime New Zealand.

"I'd like to hear from anyone who has been involved in an accident or other maritime incident so I can continue working with industry and the appropriate authorities to make our waters safer," Mr Spake said.

"It is also a requirement under section 31 of the Maritime Transport Act 1994 that all accidents are reported to Maritime New Zealand.

"I encourage all boaties to undertake a skipper's course with their local Coastguard to ensure they know how to keep themselves safe on the water," he said.

For more information on the Day Skippers course with Coastguard, please visit

To report a maritime incident in the eastern Bay of Plenty, please call the Harbourmaster's office on 07 308 8570.

For more information on navigational safety bylaws in the Bay of Plenty, please visit >environment >water >navigation-safety


Incident 1 - Sunday 26 November 2011, Ohope Three recreational fishermen caught in a net from a commercial trawling vessel which was approximately one mile away.

The fisherman became aware his anchor was fouled, but before he could rectify it, the commercial vessel began hauling in its net, which is what the recreational fisherman had unknowingly anchored on.

The skipper realised his vessel (and the three occupants) were about to be pulled under so he attempted to cut his anchor rope. However, before he could do this the rope snapped, releasing the vessel from the snag and almost causing the three occupants to tip out of the boat.

Incident 2 - Tuesday 7 February 2012, south east of Whale Island A recreational fisherman on-board a 5.5m alloy craft anchored about a mile south of a commercial trawler.

After a few minutes the fisherman noticed the water around him becoming increasingly rough, he heard clanking and scraping noises then the bow of the boat dipped violently, frightening the fisherman.

He had the presence of mind to cut the anchor rope, freeing the boat of the commercial trawling equipment but costing him his anchor and about 60 metres of warp.