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Island yachties jockey for room

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013
Kawau Island
SPACE WARS: Spectacular Kawau Island is a haven for sailors but often off limits for an overnight stay if you don’t have a private mooring.

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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, says 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, Ms Waugh warns.

It's important Auckland Council designates areas in the gulf for free anchorage only, she says.

Some people feel they have the right to a private mooring because they have a bach in the area but that restricts others, Ms Waugh says.

Moorings might not even be in use but other sea-goers are 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, Mr O'Sullivan says.

One private mooring takes the space of four boats, he says.

The Hauraki Gulf has about 30 sheltered anchorage spots for overnight stays so the spread of private moorings is a big threat, he says.

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, Mr O'Sullivan says.

Holiday home owners might stay a few times 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 says.

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- North Shore Times

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