Top tips for boaties

Last Updated : 20 Dec 2023
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Heading to the Hauraki Gulf by boat? Here are our top tips on how you can protect our Hauraki Gulf from waste and pests.  

Being waste-wise on the water

Before you head out to the Gulf, plan to be waste-wise on the water.

  1. Fill up reusable water bottles for your trip.
  2. Take a covered rubbish bin on board. Put all your litter in it. Particularly plastics, cigarette butts and fishing line. Dispose of your rubbish in your bin once onshore again.
  3. Take another bin for recycling. Put all your recycling in it. Glass bottles and jars, aluminium cans/empty aerosols, steel and tin cans, plastic containers labelled 1-7, paper and cardboard, and liquid paperboard cartons (e.g. used for milk and juice). Put these items in your kerbside recycling bin once onshore again.
  4. Remove any unnecessary packaging before you head to sea. Re-pack snacks such as potato chips, nuts, or dried fruits into reusable containers and leave the soft plastic packaging behind.  Avoid plastic wrap by wrapping your sandwiches in reusable beeswax wraps or storing them in reusable containers.
  5. If you see rubbish floating by, scoop it out of the sea, even if it's not yours. It’s just one of the things you can do to Be A Tidy Kiwi.
  6. Fish heads and frames have a lot of food on them. If you don't want them, give them to someone who does! Head to Free Fish heads NZ to find out more.
  7. Fish with reusable lures and hooks. Try to avoid using homemade, single-use lures, made with soft plastics.
  8. Save your shellfish or fish scraps to make your own berley, rather than buying berley in a plastic bag.

For boaties away for longer periods, the Waiheke Island summer waste barge service is there to support leisure boat users to effectively manage their waste while out on the water.

The barge will be moored at Man O’ War Bay, Waiheke Island, from 23 December 2023 to 6 February 2024, and will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including public holidays.  

If you must dispose of rubbish whilst visiting the islands, please note that waste services are limited and can be checked for each Island here.

If you see dumped rubbish on public property, call 0800 NO DUMP (0800 663 867) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Offenders caught illegally dumping rubbish will be ordered to remove the rubbish and may be issued with a fine of up to $30,000.

Check, Clean, Close 

Pests like to hide so it’s important to check, clean, close before you head out on your boat to the Hauraki Gulf this summer.

  1. Check for stowaways (especially equipment and tents that haven’t been used for a while). It's an offence under the Biosecurity Act to move pests around the Hauraki Gulf. To prevent pests from spreading, check your gear, shoes, boat and kayaks for rodents, ants, plague skinks and weeds. To control pests, keep fresh rodent bait and set traps where your vessel is stored and place rat guards on mooring ropes or anchor chains on your vessel.
    Look for signs of rodents including droppings or gnawed wiring before setting sail. They love hiding and there might be more than one, so double-check popular 'shelter spots' such as open lockers, dinghies and underneath the hull. If you're camping, unpack and check your tents and bedding thoroughly before you leave home; keep sleeping bags in separate zipped-up bags.
  1. Check whether you’re bringing risky items to the Hauraki Gulf. Some items are riskier than others when it comes to accidentally moving pests to the Hauraki Gulf. Check our handy list here (link to risk goods list or page).
  2. Clean your boat and hull for biofoul.
  3. Clean your gear; dirt transported on camping equipment, tramping gear and footwear that’s been used in kauri growing areas, could carry kauri dieback disease, seeds or pests. Clean dirty gear and footwear to remove all soil and seeds.
  4. Close all food containers; pack food into sealed containers to keep pests out.
  5. Dogs are not allowed on many of the Hauraki Gulf islands. They can disturb and harm wildlife. Leave them at home or on your boat, or you may be fined. Find out where you are allowed to take them ashore here.
  6. If you bring your pet, please pick up after your dog and dispose of their droppings in bins. Take waste with you until you can dispose of it responsibly.

I found a pest! What now?

If you spot a pest, make sure to get rid of it correctly and humanely. Don't throw rats or mice overboard alive. If you see any pests on pest-free islands - let us know. Call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) or contact us on 09 301 0101.

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