Private boats edging out island visitors

Bach owners block boaties from island bays

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
Kawau Island
KAWAU ISLAND: A popular mooring spot for holidayers, and one of the worst cases of private moorings locking ordinary boaties out of bays.

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Bach owners with private moorings are blocking the freedom of other boaties and yachties to anchor in popular Hauraki Gulf bays.

Opponents liken the proliferation of such moorings to roping off big sections of car parking at popular beaches for private use.

Keen sailor Lindsay Waugh, who chairs the Kaipatiki Local Board, said that wouldn't be tolerated at regional parks like Long Bay so it shouldn't be in the gulf either.

Auckland is in danger of losing one of its biggest recreational assets to private use and it was important Auckland Council designated areas in the gulf for free anchorage only, she said.

Waugh said some people felt they had the right to a private mooring because they had a bach in the area.

Moorings might not even be in use but other sea-goers were forced to steer clear to avoid getting their anchor stuck or damaged.

Problems are particularly bad at Waiheke, Rakino and Kawau islands and boaties fear it will spread.

Kevin O'Sullivan has been battling the issue as a member of the Auckland Yachting and Boating Association and the Gulf Anchorages Protection Society.

Popular anchorages should be for public use and people wanting private moorings must have compelling arguments before approval is given, he said.

One private mooring takes the space of four boats and as the Hauraki Gulf had only about 30 sheltered anchorage spots for overnight stays the spread of private moorings was a threat, he said.

School House Bay on Kawau Island is the worst case where private moorings lock ordinary boaties and yachties out of the bay.

Owning a bach does not give someone the automatic right to demand a mooring, O'Sullivan said.

Holiday home owners might stay a few times a year but private moorings make anchoring off limits to everyone.

On Rakino Island 165 land-owners want two moorings, one either side of the island, and if that goes ahead there will be nothing left for anyone else, he said.

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- Auckland Now

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