Navigation Rules

Our Lake a wide open space, and the lanes in our River are not marked, but there is still a right place to be. Know where that is, and why it is.  Know who gives way to whom, and what your responsibilities are.

It is the Skipper’s responsibility to ensure safety, which includes knowing and understanding the rules that apply before heading out on the water.


All boats must travel at a safe speed, taking into account the amount of boat traffic in the area, weather conditions and when visibility is affected by glare or town lights.

The speed limit is five knots within 200 metres of the shore or structures (such as wharves), and five knots within 50 metres of any other vessel, but special restrictions apply at:

  • the Waikato River downstream from the Harbourmaster's office - three knots maximum
  • the Kinloch Marina entrance, two knots maximum.

No person shall propel or navigate a small craft at a proper speed exceeding 5 knots:

  • within 50 metres of another vessel, raft or person in the water; or
  • within 200 metres of the shore or of any structure; or
  • within 200 metres of any vessel or raft that is flying flag A of the International Code of Signals (dive flag).

No person may propel or navigate a vessel at a proper speed exceeding 5 knots while any person has any portion of his or her body extending over the forepart, bow or side of that vessel.

You must be over the age of 15 to operate any power boat which is capable of speed exceeding 10 knots. This includes dinghies and jet skis.


When Two Vessels Meet

There are rules which apply to boats on the water just as there are for cars on the road. You must understand and obey these rules and do everything possible to avoid a collision.

When two boats are approaching each other, one has the right of way and it is called the stand on boat.  The other boat is called the give way boat.

The give way boat must make an early and obvious manoeuvre so there can be no confusion.

The give way boat must pass astern of (behind) the stand on boat, while the stand on boat maintains the same course and speed.


Head On

Head On
If you meet head on, both boats must turn to starboard (right), and pass port to port.

Every boat that is overtaking must give way. You are overtaking if you are approaching another boat anywhere in a 135 degree sector at its stern.

Power meets Power
You must give way to another boat on your starboard (right).  If the give way boat does not appear to be giving way, the stand on boat must take action. The stand on boat should turn to starboard (right). If it turned to port it could turn in to the path of the give way boat.
Power meets Sail
The power boat gives way, unless the sail boat is overtaking.
Sail meets Sail
When the wind is coming from different sides of the boat, the boat with the wind on the port (left) side has to give way

Sail meets Sail
When both boats have the wind on the same side the windward (upwind) boat has to give way.



Every boat must keep to the starboard (right) side of any channel

Do not create a wake which causes unnecessary danger to other boats or people

You must not anchor in a channel