The were 48 accidents and mishaps in Tauranga Harbour in the first six months of this year - more than all of 2017.

Figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times under the Official Information Act show 48 incidents were notified to Maritime New Zealand from January 1 to June 30 this year. From January 1 to December 31, 2017 there were 36.

However, details surrounding the nature of incidents in Tauranga Harbour would not be released.

The Kaituna Cut is not included in the Tauranga Harbour figures but Maketu Coastguard president Shane Beech said the popular water crossing was one of their biggest reasons for rescues.


Beech said the volunteer Coastguard responded to between eight and 12 rollovers at the Kaituna Bar each year.

"We are running pretty parallel to the last couple of years. There has been no real spike but it does keep us busy."

Beech said the bar was dangerous due to how changeable it was. Some rescue callouts have involved people "who have done everything right" but still got caught out by a rogue wave.

"It's probably going to be worse with the closure [of Ford Rd]. Drivers haven't been able to drive right to the end of the cut to check what conditions have been like."

Instead, people were launching at Bell Rd and trying their luck.

Beech said the bar could change completely within 48 hours so visual assessment of the water crossing was crucial. This was especially important as summer, and more boats, arrived.

Tauranga Coastguard acting manager Simon Barker was puzzled by the Maritime New Zealand figures.

Barker said the Tauranga rescue service had not experienced a notable increase in rescue callouts but the rise in incidents could be a case of people reporting more often than they used to.

Maritime New Zealand's Serah Pettigrew said releasing information about the nature or cause of incidents could prejudice the maintenance of the law or breach people's privacy.