Respect the conditions, stay off the water

Coastguard is renewing warnings for all water-users to stay off the water in cyclone-affected areas as dangerous sea conditions continue to pummel the coastline. 11m waves were recorded in the Bay of Islands overnight, and more heavy rain and strong winds are expected to batter the upper North Island over the next 24-48 hours. 

“All water-users should stay off and away from the water – it’s now too late and too dangerous to check on moorings or venture out to assess storm damage,” Coastguard Head of Operations Rob McCaw said. 

“Put your own safety first by staying on land until Cyclone Gabrielle has passed, even then be aware that storm surges and unpredictable seas will continue for some time even once Gabrielle has passed.” 

Coastguard responded to numerous incidents over the past 24 hours, mostly related to vessels adrift in the weather conditions in Northland and Auckland. However, in 65 knot winds yesterday, volunteers from Coastguard Bay of Islands successfully assisted a 4m runabout with two people on board back to the safety of shore when their engine failed just outside Matauwhi Bay, Northland. This morning, Coastguard Houhora volunteers were called to Houhora Harbour to pump water from a vessel – with the unit also conducting welfare checks on other vessels in the harbour. 

“Our Operations Centre is also working closely with emergency services to provide support to the many boaties who are sheltering at sea during this time and thank them for their tireless work during this ongoing emergency situation,” Rob said.  

“With our teams in the Bay of Islands, Houhora, Auckland and other locations all active on taskings in the last 24 hours, please respect the weather and stay away from the water, your life is not worth the risk.” 

Coastguard volunteers remain on call 24/7. For on-water assistance call *500 free from your mobile phone or use your local Coastguard VHF channel. For marine emergencies please call 111 or VHF Channel 16. 

For more information, contact:  
Ben Parsons  
Coastguard New Zealand Senior Communications Advisor  
[email protected] 

Thanks to our life-saving partners:
  • Auckland Council
  • Northland Regional Council
  • Waikato Regional Council
  • Hutchwilco
  • Marine Deals
  • Tower
  • Kordia
  • Hyundai
  • Line7
  • Century Batteries
  • Half Moon Bay
  • NZCT
  • Lotteries Grants Board
  • Lion Foundation
  • Pub Charity