Safety advice and information – Kayaking on the Tutukaka Coast
- Before commencing your journey always consult the latest weather, tide and safety information.
- Never kayak alone and always advise others where you are going.
- Guided tours and kayak lessons and equipment hire are available on the Tutukaka Coast if you are not sufficiently prepared for your trip.
- Seek the advice of an experienced local if you have any doubts whatsoever.
- Warning: Cellphone coverage is still erratic on the Tutukaka Coast and can be non existent as you move north of Tutukaka Harbour.
- The Tutukaka Coast is a delight when weather is favourable ie light winds and low swell and good visibility but conditions change rapidly and can make paddling difficult or unsafe.
- Unless paddlers are experienced paddlers should not set out in strong wind conditions and should as a general rule paddle into the wind and against any current at the start of their journey to avoid fatigue on their return if doing a round trip.
- When doing a one way trip try to paddle with the wind and current.
- When entering or exiting through the Ngunguru River groups will need to consider the tide, which can be difficult to paddle against. If using this route avoid the swells on the bar and watch out for other craft in the narrow entrance. It may be better to use Whangaumu Bay. There is easy beach access for launching and retrieving boats.
- Swells can enter the caves near Tutukaka Harbour’s South Gable and below Pacific Rendezvous. Approach with caution and in reverse.
- Trips outside the Tutukaka Harbour and Ngunguru Bay/River are best done with a guide who will be able to advise you of conditions and show you the best areas to explore. Due to the number of reefs in this area there may be surges and unbroken swells to be aware of. Additional safety equipment should be carried in case of emergency (VHF radio and EPIRB) . Paddlers will need to have the ability to perform rescues in case of capsize and should have reasonable fitness level and water confidence.
- As in all trips safety is in numbers. Minimum group size should be 2-4 paddlers. Local operators will not hire boats to solo paddlers.
- A detailed and up to date local forecast is essential before setting out. VHF Channel 85 has a local forecast at 0830, 1230, 1630 and 2030 daily. The Met service and various sites such as www.marineweather.co.nz and www.bouyweather.com can assist in making good decisions as to where to paddle. Wind and swell conditions are very important. Poor visibility due to rain can be hazardous. A compass or GPS should be carried.
Information can also be obtained from the local coastguard by phoning 09 434 4286 or 0508 RESCUE. For emergencies phone *500 from a mobile or 09 303 1303.
The two most convenient sources of marine forecasts on the water are VHF radio and telephone.
VHF radio: VHF Channel 85 is the local channel for the Tutukaka Coast and has a local forecast at 0830, 1230, 1630 and 2030 daily. On Channel 16 a forecast will be announced which will be given on Channel 67 at 0533, 0733, 1033, 1333, 1733, 2133 hours or on Channel 21 continuously.
Met phone: 0900 999 + map number 60 for Brett (and 61 Colville if going south of Bream Head)
- For more safety information you can refer to Maritime NZ publication “Safe Boating” an essential guide which covers general boating safety (available from your coastguard by advance request). Safe Kayaking information is also available by calling 0800 40 80 90.