Channel Mark Information

Port Motueka


The approach to Port Motueka involves a sandbar that is subject to frequent change. It is recommended that recent local knowledge be sought before crossing the bar. Use a depth sounder in this area and travel at a safe speed at all times.

General tips

  • In general the bar should be attempted near the top of a rising tide if you are not familiar with the best route.
  • Observe the bar conditions for a reasonable period from offshore.
  • In general, the most dangerous conditions occur in the last four hours of a falling tide if the wind is onshore.
  • If it looks unsafe or beyond your skills and experience it is safer to wait offshore for conditions to improve or divert to another landing place.
  • Lifejackets must be worn by all persons on all vessels, by law, when crossing the bar.


The Motueka Port Users Group has installed a black mussel float with a radar reflector, and several yellow buoys with black diagonal stripes. These should not be relied upon for navigation as their positions are subject to change, but they provide a useful guide to the outer channel. They should be held on your starboard (right hand) side when entering from the sea, and about a chain (approximately 20m) off your port (left hand) side when leaving the harbour.
The image below shows an informal plan based on a November 2011 survey of the channel. Note that depths and positions of shoals and buoys are subject to change at any time.

Report mishaps or groundings

You must report any unintentional grounding or other mishap as soon as practicable to Maritime New Zealand on VHF Channel 16 or by calling 0508 225522, and the Tasman District Council Harbourmaster onĀ  03 543 8400.

Regular users are encouraged to join a local club for ramp access. Casual users of the Motueka Power Boat Club marina ramp should contact the Talleys gatehouse for a temporary card. The ramp fee is $10 and a $20 card bond is payable (fees subject to change).

Speed Limits

  • 3 knot speed limit applies in the immediate area of the marina and launch ramp
  • 5 knot speed limit otherwise applies until 200 metres from shore