A Whangarei charter boat skipper and the company he runs have pleaded not guilty to charges related to the death of a diver who was struck by a propeller.

Mark Andrew Barnes, 59, skipper of the charter boat Pacific Hideaway, and The Dive Spot, denied breaching the Health And Safety in Employment Act 1992, in Whangarei District Court yesterday.

The charges relate to the death of Bruce Porter, 56, who was diving on the Pacific Hideaway boat when he was struck by the propeller at the Poor Knights as he resurfaced on February 7. He died from his injuries.

Mr Porter was with the Western Underwater Dive Club from Auckland, which had chartered the 16-m catamaran for three days. The boat is owned and skippered by Mark and Denise Barnes.


The charge include that as skipper, Barnes failed to adequately warn of the dangers of the boat's propeller and failed to ensure the safety of people in the water from the propeller.

The company was charged with breaching Section 15 of the Act.

Barnes and the company will reappear on the charges in the court on November 10.