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Auckland Transport

America's Cup information for skippers America's Cup information for skippers

Preparation and navigating around the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf during the race series.

If you are thinking of heading out on the water during the race series, make yourself familiar with the rules in place, check the latest information updates, and make a plan.

On the water safety information.


Water Safety

Always ensure have appropriately fitting lifejackets easily accessible for all persons on board, if not already worn. Have at least 2 forms of waterproof communications available (VHF and mobile phone in waterproof protective case). Be a responsible skipper. Obey all speed restrictions and know all the rules on the water. Learn more about water safety.

AC75 Training

Between now and the end of March 2021, the four teams competing for the Prada Cup and the America's Cup will be testing and training on the waters of the Waitematā Harbour, Hauraki Gulf, Motuihe Channel and Tamaki Strait. Read the local notice to mariners 46-20.

Transit lanes

Transit lane restrictions will be enforced only on race days as required and broadcast on Channel 16 by the Harbourmaster. Restrictions in the transit lane while activated include:

  • All vessels to keep to starboard (right) side of channel to ensure passing port to port.
  • Speed to be maintained at 5 knots, no stopping or slowing.
  • Travel the entire length of the lane, no turning.
  • Power driven vessels only. No sails to be hoisted.

Refer to local notice to mariners 54-20 vessel transit lanes.

Vessel suitability

Small and manually powered vessels such as kayaks, paddleboards, kite or wind surfers and similar are encouraged to enjoy the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf, however in locations away from the racing and the transit to and from Wynyard Quarter.

The water around the event will be very busy and turbulent posing serious safety risks. The majority of vessels will be travelling in one direction at 5 knots. Small vessels can be obscured from view while in a wake trough. Small vessels can easily become swamped through a washing machine effect of wake from all directions. As identified from previous major maritime events it is advisable for small craft safety to refrain from navigating in the vicinity of the racing.

The vicinity of the race course is not considered suitable for manually powered craft. If you insist on going out make yourself as visible as possible both at sea level and higher. Craft entering any transit lane must be motor propelled and capable of maintaining a speed of 5 knots for the entire lane.

Additional speed restrictions

As identified from previous major maritime events there will be a 5 knot speed restriction within the harbour and in the vicinity of the race course as announced by Harbourmaster on VHF Channel 16. At all other times vessels are to maintain a maximum speed of 5 knots within 50 metres of another vessel.

Cable Zone

There is to be no anchoring or fishing in the cable zone that secures communications between NZ and the rest of the world for voice and internet. Course A is located over the cable zone and race marks will be laid in predetermined locations with special permission. Know your position in relation to the wide zone, if in doubt do not anchor. Damage to the cable may result in large prosecutions and repair bills.

Read the Hauraki Gulf cable protection area information sheet (PDF 2.8MB) and refer to the indicative cable protection area diagram below  - not to be used for navigation.
Download America's Cup Course A Lat Long coordinates from the America's Cup website.

Hauraki Gulf cable protection area and Americas cup course A

Boat ramp access

Boat ramps have the potential to be more congested than normal on busy summer weekends. Have a plan, be prepared and don’t leave it to the last minute.
Before arriving at the ramp be ready with bungs in, tie-downs removed, gear loaded, engine serviced and refueled. Plan roles as to your launch and trailer parking. Have a skipper able to stand off and await vehicle drivers return or better still arrange for a pickup with trailer at a later time. There will be congestion as people try to find parking with trailers, do not impede traffic or property access. The busiest time on the ramp will be as majority of vessels return at the end of the day all trying to get their boats loaded on trailers at a similar time. As soon as is safe make room on the ramp for other users to load. Consider offering to help as a friendly gesture to keep the process flowing.

Commercial vessels

Commercial vessels need to be need to be in the Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) with qualified skippers. If you want to operate commercially but are not currently in MOSS, refer to the Maritime New Zealand website . Maritime New Zealand will issue flags to show compliance from commercial operators intending on carrying paying passengers.

Boat wake

Boat wake is a serious concern as congested waterways become turbulent and unpredictable. Boat wake moves at the speed of the vessel at high frequency compared to naturally forming waves from wind or tide that have a low frequency and travel at less than 10 knots. Naturally forming waves tend to move in one direction compared to wake that pushes out from the direction of travel dependent on the hull design. Wake has the potential to amplify as it meets wake from other vessels. Most of the energy is in the crest of the wave. Wake troughs can be significant and obscure from view small craft.

Keep up to date

Auckland HarbourMaster local notices to mariners

Notices to mariners cover events, local issues and infrastructure issues that may affect navigation in the Auckland region.

Daily updates from America's Cup events

The days race course will be announced about 10am on day of racing, refer to the course information updates . From 2pm the boundary buoys will be in place. The corners of the race course will be defined by 5 metre tall marks suspended from the rigging of yachts. 

You can register your boat on the America's cup event website to receive updates with the latest information from the America’s Cup Event.

Major maritime event notices

Event notices are listed on the NZ government gazette website. Be sure to obey the instructions of the course marshals. You are obliged to give your details if requested. Infringements of $1,000 can be issued for non-compliance to individuals.

The Auckland Harbourmaster's office publishes a calendar of upcoming events which also includes information if you want to plan an event on the water.

Some images on this page are based on/include LINZ’s data which are licensed by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) for re-use under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.