Harbour rules & regulations Harbour rules & regulations

All vessel owners should know the rules and regulations governing the harbours, and any notices or directions to mariners.

Navigation Bylaw 2021

The Navigation Bylaw 2021 as of 14 August 2021. The Navigation Bylaw is an Auckland Council bylaw.

Download Navigation Bylaw 2021 (PDF 9.9MB, 97 pages)

Accident and incident reporting

Find out more about your obligation to report any accident or incident to Maritime NZ and Harbourmaster.

Auckland Harbour restricted areas

There are restrictions on some areas of the harbour, for example:

  • no anchoring,
  • speed restriction areas,
  • no entry areas, i.e. Defence or Port security and customs areas.

View a map of the Auckland Harbour restricted areas map (PDF 3.4MB).

Find out more details about speed restrictions and other responsibilities being on the water.

Port and Harbour Safety Code

If you want a copy of the report, approved by Maritime New Zealand and adopted by Auckland Transport, email the Harbourmaster's office.

You can find more information on the Port and Harbour Safety Code on the Maritime New Zealand website.

Harbour safety policy

Auckland Transport will undertake and regulate marine operations in the Waitemata and Manukau harbours in a way that safeguards these harbours, their users, and the environment.

The harbour safety policy will:

  • use the NZ Port and Harbour Safety Code and its supporting guidelines as a standard against which the regional council will measure itself and be measured by others
  • ensure that the relevant assets of the harbour are managed safely
  • enforce bylaws and harbourmaster directions appropriately
  • ensure that staff are properly trained for emergencies and contingencies
  • identify measures to address conflicts of interest
  • adequately resource management of port and harbour navigation safety.

The Auckland Council Port and Harbour Safety Policy, Health and Safety, and Environmental policies are supported by Ports of Auckland policies.

Auckland Transport commits to implementing the requirements of the NZ Port and Harbour Safety Code supported by Ports of Auckland and the New Zealand Navy.

Commercial and large recreational vessels

The Auckland Transport Harbourmaster is responsible for overall harbour management.

The commercial port, run by Ports of Auckland Ltd (PoAL), is the major player in terms of this management function.

The movement and operation of commercial and large recreational vessels are subject to requirements that may place responsibilities on them or vessels navigating near to them.

All foreign flagged vessels 40m and over intending on anchoring or dynamic positioning in Auckland region’s waters are required to pay an annual Navigation and Safety Fee. Some exceptions do apply.

Port facility operators, such as the Ports of Auckland Ltd, are responsible for the operation of wharves and facilities they own or operate.

The master of a vessel wishing to use a commercial wharf should contact the facility operator before they arrive.

Visit the Ports of Auckland website.

Harbourmaster directions

Vessel operating requirements

This direction ensures that vessels manoeuvring within a pilotage area can be navigated in a way that will not adversely affect the safety of navigation.

Download Direction 2-20 Vessel Operating Requirements (PDF 137KB)

Downtown ferry terminal basin

This direction aims to set down periods where the arrival of large ships and/or use of tugs within the Downtown Ferry Terminal Basin cause concern, and to prohibit restrict this activity. The Direction also sets out a clear procedure for the testing or use of any Propulsion or Manoeuvring equipment of large vessel within the basin.

Harbourmaster’s Direction 1-22 Downtown Ferry (PDF 521KB)


This direction contains the requirements for the compulsory pilotage areas within the Auckland region. This direction updates and supersedes previous Harbourmaster Directions 1-07.

Download HM Direction 3-20 Pilotage (PDF 325KB)

Navigation safety operating requirements

These requirements set out the practices and procedures for various locations and circumstances.

Tamaki River

Download Tamaki river safety operating requirements (PDF 665KB, 8 pages)

Operation of a superyacht in the Auckland region

Download Operation of a superyacht in the Auckland region (PDF 746KB, 13 pages)

Auckland pilotage area tug and towing operations

Download Auckland pilotage area tug and towing operations (PDF 245KB, 5 pages)

Operation of vessels during periods of restricted visibility

Download Operation of vessels during periods of restricted visibility (PDF 1.1 MB, 13 pages)

Operation of emergency response vessels within Auckland

Download Operation of emergency response vessels within Auckland (PDF 640KB, 8 pages)

Bunkering procedures and notification

Commercial operators that provide bunkers or discharge sludge/waste oil within the Auckland region need to notify the Harbourmaster's office 24 hours before the transfer.

This is to ensure an adequate level of safety and planning in the execution of fuel oil operations and bunkering.

Fuel oil operations and the bunkering notification procedure

To ensure the Harbourmaster's office is aware of oil transfers and bunkering operations within the Auckland region, you can notify them using two options:

Option 1: Online using the oil transfer/bunkering notification form

Fill out the online oil transfer/bunkering notification form:

Oil transfer or bunkering notification

Option 2: Email

Alternatively, you can download the bunkering transfer notification form (PDF 213KB), fill it out and email it to the Harbourmaster's office.

Hot work operations and notification

The person in charge of a vessel must ensure that they take all precautions for the detection, prevention, and extinguishing of fire on board the vessel or elsewhere as a result of the hot work operations. Before commencement of any hot work, the person in charge of a vessel must obtain written approval of the owner, or manager, of the facility at which the work is to be conducted. All hot work operations must comply with the Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers. 

A copy of the ‘Code of Safe Working Practices for Merchant Seafarers’ may be downloaded off the Maritime New Zealand website. Audits of hot work operations may be undertaken by the Harbourmaster. If he is not satisfied adequate precautions have been taken, he may forbid operations to commence or continue.

Diving operations

The person in charge of a vessel must ensure that they take all precautions in relation to diving/commercial diving operations. All dive vessels shall:

Weather information

For up to date weather information please visit the MetService website.

For VHF radio continuous weather forecast, please listen on Ch 19, 20, 79 (channel depending on location).

Find out about the MetService Marine App » About MetService.