On-water safety encouraged as America’s Cup starts

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling. Photo: File.

Maritime NZ is reminding boaties and spectators how to be safe as America’s Cup racing kicks off tomorrow.

Martime NZ northern compliance manager Neil Rowarth says his team has already interacted with over 1,000 boaties and operators providing safety advice on the boat ramps and marinas – making it the biggest single event safety campaign Maritime NZ has ever run.


Maritime Officers will be back interacting with boaties during racing when Auckland returns to Covid-19 alert level 1.

“While Auckland remains at alert level 2 we want to remind boaties heading out to watch the America’s Cup that lifejacket wearing and keeping a safe speed are crucial,” says Neil.

“If you’re the skipper, you’re legally responsible for the safety of the boat and everyone on board.

“Wearing your lifejacket is the single most important thing to do to help keep yourself safe on the water. Skippers must carry correctly-sized lifejackets for everyone on board.

“We’re also telling boaties to understand and comply with the established course boundaries and follow the speed limits.”

The maximum speed permitted for all boats is 5 knots – about 9 kilometres an hour – within 200 metres of shore and within 50 metres of any other boat or swimmer. There is also a 5 knot speed restriction within the harbour and in the vicinity of the race course.

Neil says people can listen to VHF channel 16 for details about the restrictions. Also when they get to the race course, listen to VHF Channel 4 for updates on race details.

“Speeding in congested areas is dangerous and can cause serious injuries to others.”

For people thinking of heading out on the water during the race series, more information about navigating the Waitematā Harbour and Hauraki Gulf  is on Auckland Transport’s website.


Spectators choosing a charter vessel to watch the Cup are reminded to ‘Look for the Flag’. Maritime NZ has handed out 107 of the distinctive pink and yellow flags that shows the operator is in a recognised safety system or has an exemption.

“Exemptions are only granted when operators can show they have an equivalent or better level of safety,” says Neil.

“The moment we’ve waited nearly four years for has arrived! We wish the two teams luck and everyone watching an exciting and safe America’s Cup.”

Sign up to get the latest on-water updates via text message or email from the race organisers: https://www.americascup.com/watch-on-water

Key info from race organisers

  •   •  All vessels are reminded that Course Area A is mostly within the Cable NO ANCHORING or FISHING Zone. Vessel operators must refer to approved navigation charts and systems to identify their proximity to this Zone.

  •   •  Live Spectator Location Perimeter - you can track your live location in relation to the spectator perimeter using The Predict Wind: download the app. Race Course details and the spectator location finder are updated every race day at 11am and are LIVE until 6pm. Outside of these hours the location finder will not work.

  •   •  For this service to work please ensure the GPS location is enabled on your device.




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