Channel Markers Righted Following Tsunami Surges

Published: Wed 19 Jan 2022 12:50 PM
Lateral channel markers in Whitianga and Tairua harbours have been repositioned after they were impacted by strong and unusual currents created by the weekend’s Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha’apai eruption.
Waikato Regional Council maritime officers deployed on Monday in response to reports that channel markers had moved, with several found inside the Tairua marina.
Buoys and beacons help guide boaties through shallow water, busy channels and past hazards. They are the ‘road signs’ on the water and the different shapes and sizes communicate important information about what side is safe to pass on.
Each mark has its their own unique colour, top mark and shape, and at night most marks will also have a light with its own unique colour or flashing sequence.
Regional Harbourmaster Chris Bredenbeck said it was important to get the markers back in place. “We had a number of buoys that had been lifted up by the currents and dragged into and around the harbours by the surges. Both Whitianga and Tairua are popular harbours, especially at this time of year, so it was important we got out there to relocate the channel markers as soon as we could.”
Maritime officers worked across three vessels to survey the locations of the channel markers within the harbours and relocate the ones that had moved back to their correct positions.
“There have been a lot of extremely unusual currents running over the last couple of days and we’re fortunate that we didn’t get the same destructive impacts as up north,” Mr Bredenbeck said.
Two of the outer buoys that mark the entrance to Whitianga harbour (a red lateral port marker and yellow 5 knot speed marker) are expected to be recovered from the middle of the bay off Brophy’s Beach in Whitianga this week.
Mr Bredenbeck urged boaties to remain extra vigilant when navigating these waterways.
Anyone who notices navigational hazards or buoys that are not where they should be is asked to contact the Harbourmaster’s Office on 0800 800 402.

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