Deputy Harbour Master Amanda Kerr. Photo: Supplied.

Changes to boating bylaw


Recent changes to the Navigation Safety Bylaw have left some Nelson boat owners struggling to catch up on the rules.

The bylaw was reviewed earlier this year, and, from 1 October, vessels over six metres in length must be registered with Nelson City Council – unless the identification is a Yachting NZ or affiliated club registration or the vessel’s trailer registration number.

If your boat is less than six metres, it doesn’t need to be registered – but it does need the owner’s name and contact details displayed somewhere on the boat.

“This is so that, in the event of a mishap, we know how to contact the boat’s owner,” says Clare Barton, group manager environmental management at council.

There is no cost to register your vessel and it can be done online at

The changes apply to visitors in the area, too.

The council consulted with the public on the changes back in July, and Clare says there is a focus on improving the safety of people in Nelson’s marine environment.

“The amendments have been made based on local safety checks and evidence gathered throughout the country on the causes of marine accidents.”

You can find more information on the bylaw at