Staying safe on the Waipu Bar
The Waipu Bar in a light, westerly breeze

Heading out of the Waipu River in to Bream Bay means crossing the bar at the river entrance and it can sometimes be difficult to navigate, especially with an easterly or north easterly swell.

Most boats can get in and out of the river 2.5 hours either side of high tide.

Our advice - have a look at the bar configuration at low tide to be sure you know how to get out and back in safely before you go!!!

Check the weather forecast for the entire time you expect to be out on the bay and if bar conditions are rough, don't risk the crossing.

If you're new to the area or don't have experience in bar crossings, join the club and ask for advice; our friendly club members are happy to help out.


Coastguard New Zealand's bar safety advice

  • Seek local advice on the bar and channels
  • Check the weathertide and bar conditions
  • Ensure your boat has adequate stability
  • Check your boat and make sure hatches and equipment are adequately secured
  • Make sure that everybody is wearing a lifejacket and are awake
  • Ensure that you are carrying two forms of communication that work even when wet
  • A call sign is vital for Bar Crossings to ensure positive identification and efficient communication. Get one or update your existing one.
  • Make a trip report to Coastguard when departing advising of your departure location, your plans for the day and that you will be calling later to lodge a Bar Watch report before you cross the bar.
  • Upon arrival at your assessment point, take the time to double check conditions will be ok for a safe crossing both now and when you return with the forecasted weather and tides. Lodge a Bar Watch report.
  • Post a lookout to monitor conditions astern and approach the bar at moderate speed
  • Communicate to Coastguard that you have successfully crossed the bar and close your Bar Watch report

The final piece of advice from Coastguard is: if in doubt, don't go out!