Water recreation regulations and harbour bylaws require that all vessels navigate at a proper speed not exceeding five knots within 200 metres of the shore.
Recognising the wide enjoyment of water skiing, Marlborough District Council has set aside specific areas where this activity can legally take place from beaches.
Areas set aside are shown in the diagram below, with entry and exit as indicated. The five knot speed limit does not apply in these marked areas. Direction of travel is anticlockwise except at Kumutoto Bay where the direction of travel is clockwise.
Defined areas where water skiing can take place are:
- Ngakuta Bay, Grove Arm
- Davies Bay, Grove Arm
- Bottle Bay, Grove Arm
- Kaipakirikiri Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui
- Cherry Bay, Ruakaka Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui
- Te Mahia Bay, Kenepuru Sound
- Kumutoto Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound/Tōtaranui
Note: In Kumutoto Bay only, the ski lane runs contrary to International Convention and is different to the other ski lanes found in the Marlborough Sounds. This is due to the topography of the shoreline.
The areas are defined by yellow buoys and are reserved for swimming only between Labour Weekend and Easter of the following year. There are swimming rafts associated with the Waikawa Bay and Picton Foreshore areas.
These are located at:
- Picton Foreshore
- Shelley Beach
- Waikawa Bay
After discussions with the Ngakuta Bay Boating Club and Community Association the Marlborough District Council Harbours Office have reinstated a safer water skiing environment.