This summer season has been one of the best for boaties heeding the road rules at sea, says Tauranga's harbour master Peter Buell.

Mr Buell was pleased to report that the overall behaviour on the water within Tauranga Harbour this summer had been the best he had seen.

More than 95 per cent of boaties had adhered to the lifejacket rule, he said.

"But what's even more pleasing to see is that the majority of small vessel owners, who are more at risk of drowning due to the size of their vessel, are actually wearing them on the water."


Mr Buell said so far this summer the maritime team and harbour wardens had spoken to hundreds of boaties and no warnings or infringements were issued.

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With new signage on their vessels, the increased visibility was helping to increase boaties' compliance, he believed.

Last summer 18 infringement notices were issued between December 1, 2014 and January 18, 2015, with offenders incurring fines of $200 each.

Nine involved people breaching five knots within 200m of the shoreline.

Thirty-one warnings were also issued for breaching five knots within 200m of the shoreline, not wearing a lifejacket while being towed and not having an observer while water-skiing.

There were also 11 breaches of the Rena shipwreck exclusion zone for which offenders received warnings from the harbour master.

Mr Buell said despite this season's positive results it was timely to remind boaties and other harbour users to ensure they heeded the "rules of the road at sea".

That included wearing a lifejacket and carrying two waterproof ways of calling for help, such as a VHF radio and cellphone.

Tauranga Coast Guard operations manager Simon Barker said during the summer the coastguard had not noted any major incidents of concern.

He reminded people to keep a lookout for other vessels on the water, and reduce their speed accordingly, given the large number of craft using the harbour.

Mr Barker said harbour users also needed to check the marine conditions and ensure they took two forms of communication with them, so they could call for help in an emergency.

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On Sunday a jetski accident at Matakana Island's Hunters Creek resulted in the rider and passenger being treated at Tauranga Hospital, after their craft hit the old ammunition barge.

Be sea safe
- Lifejacket's for life - put it on or it's no good. Stay afloat - stay alive.
- Check your boat and equipment. Skippers, it's your responsibility.
- Always carry two waterproof ways to call for help such as a VHF radio and cellphone in a waterproof bag.
- Always check the marine weather forecast before hitting the water. If in doubt, don't go out.
- Your boat must not exceed 5 knots within 200m of shore, a structure or dive flag, and within the area shore side of a 5-knot buoy.
- You also must not exceed 5 knots within 50m of another vessel or swimmer.
Source: Tauranga Harbour Master