5 knot speed limit to remain on Blue Lake

Following consultation with local recreational water users, the Director of Maritime NZ has made permanent a 5 knot speed limit on Blue Lake, near St Bathans, Central Otago.

Previously, an increased speed limit (known as a speed uplifting) put in place in 1980 permitted vessels to be operated faster than the 5 knot limit at particular times of the day.

The revocation of the speed uplifting makes the lake again subject to Maritime Rules Part 91 which states:

(1) No person may, without reasonable excuse, propel or navigate a vessel (including a vessel towing a person or an object) at a proper speed exceeding 5 knots:

(a) within 50 metres of any other vessel, raft, or person in the water; or
(b) within 200 metres of the shore or of any structure; or
(c) within 200 metres of any vessel or raft that is flying Flag A of the International Code of Signals (divers flag).

Maritime NZ Director Keith Manch said a fatal accident at the lake on Boxing Day last year had prompted a review of safety measures at the lake and this had identified the risks to navigation safety and the need for measures to address them.

“Given the dimensions of Blue Lake, this means that the 5 knot speed limit is considered the safe speed for the whole of the lake,” he said. “New signage will be installed shortly at the lake setting out the specific requirements.”

Under Part 91 applications can be made for a temporary or permanent speed uplifting. The requirements for such applications are set out in the Rules Part 91 at Rules 91.19 and 91.20.