Jumpers may force closure of popular wharf

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The popular wharf at Wakefield Quay could be closed to the public after several trespass notices have been issued for people jumping off moored boats that don’t belong to them.

Nelson harbour-master Dave Duncan says seven trespass orders have been issued in the past month and many others have been spoken to after they were spotted climbing on boats berthed at Wakefield Quay and then jumping from them.

Dave says jumping off the wharf has happened for years, but when swimmers climb on other people’s boats, it becomes a problem.

“We open the wharf up so people can jump off it, we understand that it’s an activity that people have enjoyed for a long time. I certainly don’t want to close this wharf off but as the harbour-master my hands are tied because I’m responsible for people’s safety.”

He says CCTV footage has captured people climbing in the Haulashore Island ferry, the NMIT life boat and a private launch berthed at the superyacht berth. Dave says the NMIT boat is around six metres in the air and if someone was to fall off it “there is no coming back”.

He says if the practice doesn’t stop he will have to close the wharf.

“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I could close access right off but that would disadvantage a lot of people who aren’t responsible for this misbehaviour.”

The wharf is popular with people fishing, watching the boats come and go or just looking at the view.

He says closing the wharf would be a “last resort” and is hoping that people will start reporting people if they’re seen climbing on other people’s property. “We want people to either urge them to stop jumping on other people’s property or to call the police.”