Manawatū River Navigation Safety Bylaw

Anybody who uses the Manawatū River and its tributaries for enjoyment, recreation and business should do so safely and with knowledge of the rules.

The Manawatū River and Tributaries Navigation Safety Bylaw (2022) reflects Maritime Rule Part 91, as well as local rules. The following is a summary of important points in the Bylaw for your reference.

There are areas on the river and tributaries where you are prohibited from exceeding five knots, please refer to section 5.3 of the Bylaw to see where these are.

The Harbourmaster and appointed Enforcement Officers have powers under the Bylaw to keep the Manawatū River and its tributaries safe for navigation and recreation.

Manawatū River and Tributaries Navigation Safety Bylaw (2022)

Water ski and personal water craft (jet ski) areas

  1. On the Manawatū River between 2 kilometres upstream of the Whirokino Bridge down to the Whirokino boat launching ramp;
  2. ​On the Manawatū River upstream of the Whirokino Bridge, from the Te Pehu Trig Station to another point 1.6 kilometres upstream where Cooks Drain enters;
  3. On the Manawatū River below the Foxton-Shannon Bridge, between points 1 and 4 kilometres downstream of that bridge; and
  4. On the Manawatū River from a point 200 metres upstream of the Manawatū Marine Boating Club launching ramp to the downstream end of the Foxton -Te Awahou Loop.

Remember: Life jackets are to be worn, and the minimum age is 15 for skippers of boats capable of more than 10 knots.

Jet ski registration

Under the 2022 Bylaw there is now a requirement for all jet ski owners to register their jet skis and display their registration sticker. This link will take you to the Hawke's Bay Regional Council jet ski registration page where you can register. Once you have registered there your registration will cover all of New Zealand. If you sell your jet ski you must also transfer this jet ski registration through the same website.

Horizons River Management Assets Map

Horizons has created this map which overlays the area that the Bylaw applies according to subclause 1.2.2 of the Bylaw with the Horizons River management assets database. 

This map gives river users the ability to check the section of river they wish to use and make them aware of any river management assets in the area. 

This map does not detail the asset itself but will identify an asset by using a point, line or polygon.

If at any time a river user encounters an asset encroaching or obstructing a waterway, please notify the Harbourmaster by emailing with details of the obstruction and location.

On-water event application form

If you are planning an event such as a race, speed trial, competition, Tira Hoe Waka or other organised water activity that takes place in an area of navigable water that is covered under the Manawatū River and Tributaries Navigation Safety Bylaw 2022, then you will need to complete the below application.

Send your completed application form and any supporting documents to Harbourmaster, C/- Horizons Regional Council, 17 Victoria Avenue, Palmerston North, or email to 

On-water event application for Manawatū River and Tributaries

Collisions or accidents

The owner or master of any vessel involved in an accident or incident is required to report it under Section 31 of the Act to Maritime NZ online here.  
The owner or master is also required to verbally report the accident or incident to the Harbourmaster on freephone 0508 800 800, or by email at

Bylaw Maps

Jet Boat NZ Speed Restrictions

Foxton Loop Insert

Manawatu Marine Boating Club Launching Ramp Speed Restriction

Whirokino Boat Ramp Speed Restriction