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Westport Harbour issues safety notice for the Westport bar

10 Jul 2023

Westport Harbour’s latest bar sounding taken on Friday 7 July indicates that the Westport Bar currently has a depth of less than 1 metre. 

Master of the dredge Kawatiri and acting harbour master Steve Christieson says: “All vessels should exercise extreme caution when transiting the Westport Bar. Latest bar soundings indicate depths of less than 1 metre exist in an area from the tipheads to seaward of the 2 cable line.”

It is recommended that all vessels, including recreational boats, plan to transit from 1 hour before until high water. Please contact the harbour master for further information and assistance.

A notice was sent out to mariners on Saturday, which will be broadcast on the coastal radio channel. The information was also published on the Westport Harbour’s website ( and the harbour master has been in contact with larger vessel operators directly informing them of the situation.

Mr Christieson says: “This is not an unusual situation and occurs when the river run is light due to low rainfall in the Buller River catchment, compounded by predominant SW weather and long period swells.

We are monitoring the situation and have commenced dredging operations on the bar as ideally a depth of at least 2 metres is preferred both for vessels transiting and ongoing harbour management dredging.”


further information please contact:

Master of the dredge Kawatiri and Acting Harbour Master
Steve Christieson