Proposed changes to boating rules in the Bay could see boaties required to wear lifejackets at all times on vessels 6m or under and the compulsory registration of personal watercraft.

After six months of early engagement with the community the proposed changes to the Navigation Safety Bylaw today opened for submissions.

More than 300 people gave feedback as part of the early engagement phase of the review and these insights enabled the Regional Council to identify issues that were significant regionally and make changes to the new proposed bylaw accordingly.

Senior planner at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Shawn Baker said the review gave the council the opportunity to take a closer look at what was working well and what needed to be refined in the existing bylaw.


"The majority of clauses from the existing bylaw have been carried through but there are a number of key changes proposed too. This includes changes to the rules around lifejackets and a proposal to make the registration of personal water craft compulsory. We really appreciate the time people took to let us know what navigational safety issues are important to them", he said.

Key changes proposed
• Lifejackets to be worn at all times on vessels 6m or under and making way - unless the skipper advises otherwise
• Rules around navigating near large vessels
• Proposal to make registration of personal watercraft (jetskis) compulsory
• Definitions for passive recreation area and non-water sports area refined and added
• Changes to some reserved areas eg Hunters Creek

Anyone or any organisation can make a submission on any part of the proposed Navigation Safety Bylaw.

Submission forms and more information can be found online at, forms can be collected from our Rotorua, Whakatane, Tauranga or Mount Maunganui offices or you can request a hard copy by phoning 0800 884 880.

Submissions are open until 5pm on July 7.