Rotorua people have a chance to have their say around the rules for lakes and rivers in the area - including plans to make wearing life jackets compulsory on all vessels smaller than 6m.

Bay of Plenty's harbours, lakes and rivers are used by thousands of people every day for a wide range of activities and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is currently reviewing the associated bylaws.

Major changes being considered include the compulsory wearing of life jackets for vessels under 6m, registration of jet skis and the review of speed upliftings on some of this region's major rivers.

The Navigation Safety Bylaw covers all navigable waterways in the Bay of Plenty and is aimed at ensuring the safety of users, both commercial and recreational, on these waterways.


Regional council senior planner Shawn Baker, who is facilitating the process, said the bylaws were reviewed every five years.

"We want the best bylaw for the community and are currently seeking feedback around the current rules and some of the major changes that are being considered. With such a variety of users making the most of this region's waterways this is a good opportunity to ensure these activities do not conflict.

"It's really important we get this right but we do need community input to achieve this."
He said the bylaw only covered navigational safety, so was about people's behaviour on the water, rather than physical structures like boat ramps and jetties.

Community meetings will be held across the region to explain the review process and as a way to listen to the issues that are important to the community.

A meeting will be held at the Rotorua Water Sports Trust Centre on February 10 from 6pm. In Whakatane, a meeting will be held today at the Whakatane Fishing Club from 5pm.

Alternatively people can visit to check out the current bylaw and have their say - or they can call Mr Baker directly on 0800 884 880.

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The regional council is also keen to meet with any interested group and urges people to make contact directly to arrange this.