High Risk Areas

Five-knot buoys have been established in high risk areas of the Marlborough Sounds.

Travelling at speeds in excess of 5 knots in these areas is dangerous for you and other Marlborough Sounds waterway users.

Skippers who breach this speed limit may receive a $200 infringement penalty or face criminal prosecution under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.


The following high risk areas are marked with 5 knot marker buoys:

1. Onahau Bay 

2. Waterfall Bay

3. Mistletoe Bay

4. Fence Bay 

5. Lochmara bay (x2)

6. Double Cove (x2)

7. Bay of Many Coves (Aratawa Bay & Arthurs Bay)

8. Kumutoto Bay

9. Broughton Bay

10. Te Mahia Bay (x2)

11. Portage

12. Elaine Bay

13. Waikawa Bay (x3)

14. Penzance Bay

15. Whatamango Bay

17. Okiwi Bay

18. Pirapu Bay

19. Te Ipapakereru Bay

20. Ngakuta Bay (x4)

21. Picton Harbour (x3)

22. The Snout 

23. Karaka Point (x2)

24. Wedge Point 

25. Ratimera Bay

26. Duncan Bay 

Key Messages

  • A five knot buoy marks a high risk area where it is reckless to travel in excess of 5 knots at any time.
  • 5 knot buoys do not mark the 200 meter mark.
  • 5 knot buoys are often located well inside 200m from shore.
  • Compliance with the speed bylaw may require an inbound vessel to slow down long before reaching the 5 knot buoy


Where the Harbour Master finds a vessel;

  • Operating at a speed in excess of 5 knots within the five knot zone an infringement of $200 may be applied
  • Operating at a speed in excess of 5 knots within a high risk zone an infringement of $200 will be applied or prosecution sought under the Maritime Transport Act 1994.