A few years ago Boating New Zealand’s Westhaven office looked out over Pier 21’s bustling haul-out facility. The travel lift and hardstand was busy year-round, but never more so than in the weeks leading up to Christmas, catering to vessels of every type, both motor and sail, and serving the needs of individual boat owners and the precinct’s marine trades.

Fast-forward to 2022 and this facility is no more, its hardstand area and lift soon to be swallowed by a major mixed/residential development. Many of the marine trades that once headquartered there have also gone, either closing shop or relocating elsewhere.

What happened to Pier 21, a favourite among Westhaven’s yacht owners, is happening all over. And not just in Auckland. It’s becoming more and more difficult for boaties to access haul-out facilities around the country – especially the upper part of the North Island where boating activity is most intense.

And this is happening just as much tougher bio-security regulations are coming into play. These days boaties visiting most Northland harbours, or visiting island sanctuaries, must have a Clean Hull Certificate showing proof of antifouling and/or hull cleaning within the last six months.

In addition, Biosecurity officers regularly check boats on moorings or marinas for excessive marine growth or the presence of marine pests. Too much growth and they issue a boat with an orange warning notice; receive a red sticker and the vessel is prevented from moving until it has been cleaned. And since many marinas do not allow cleaning by divers, it’s clearly in every boat owner’s interest to get their hull cleaned in good time.


But where? Haul-out waiting lists are long everywhere and getting longer. Worse, a recent survey of councils around the upper North Island revealed that, in Auckland’s case for example, there is only enough capacity to anti-foul 33 percent of the fleet annually – and that was before Pier 21 closed. The situation is not much better in Northland or Waikato.

The Auckland Yacht and Boating Association (AYBA), representing most boating and yachting clubs in the region, is aware of the situation. AYBA supports efforts to protect our marine environment from invasive pests and works closely with organisations like the Marina Users Association. But as AYBA Executive Janet Watkins points out, with haul-out facilities closing or about to close, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for boaties to fulfil their biosecurity obligations – see Janet’s letter on page 22.

Boating NZ agrees with AYBA – something needs to be done about our shrinking boating infrastructure, and soon!

Many readers will shortly be packing up their families and casting off on their summer cruise, hopefully with clean bottoms! Others will see in the new year at the beach or beside a lake. Boating will likely be on the agenda. So, wherever you may be, enjoy your time on the water this summer, take care, and here’s to a brilliant 2023!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Boating NZ team.

John Eichelsheim Editor