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Crossing a bar is a high risk activity for even the most experienced boatie. A responsible skipper is well prepared and makes informed decisions before heading out.

Important safety guidelines to follow

  • Check the weather within 12 hours of your boating trip.
  • Check the tide - always avoid low tide.
  • Talk to a local about the bar conditions.
  • Tie down any loose objects such as anchor, and ropes.
  • Everyone must wear a lifejacket.
  • Contact Coastguard on VHF immediately before you cross and when you’ve successfully crossed.
  • Avoid ebb or falling tides (between high tide and low tide, when water flows away from the shore).
  • Always go out with an experienced skipper prior to attempting crossing yourself.

If in doubt, don't go out!

Bar camera at Raglan Bar camera at Raglan

Current conditions

Bar cameras

Live camera images can help you check bar conditions and make informed decisions before heading out on the water.

We currently have camera feeds available from Port Waikato, Raglan, Kāwhia and Tairua. You can see these feeds by clicking on a link, below.

Port Waikato, Raglan, Kāwhia

  • The cameras at Port Waikato, Raglan, Kāwhia have been recently installed.
  • These cameras are independently powered, and they send out an updated picture every minute via the Vodafone Wireless Network.
  • Please make sure you check the date and time displayed at the bottom left of the image.
  • The cameras are regularly monitored, but their remote and exposed locations mean that there may be technical issues from time to time.  If you think something is wrong, send an email to
  • These feeds will not display in some web browsers. They will not work in Internet Explorer or Firefox.  Please use Safari, Chrome or Microsoft Edge. 


  • This feed is hosted on NIWA's website.

Tairua bar - more information

Listen to the advisory service for Tairua bar that is broadcast over Coastguard radio in their station notices.The advisory indicates whether the bar is:

Level 1: normal – free navigation
Level 2: marginal – navigate with caution
Level 3: not recommended – navigation is likely to be hazardous.

Our harbourmasters also place public signs about bar status at the harbourmaster’s office, appropriate boat ramps and/or wharves.

Safety videos

We paired up with Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with funding from ACC and Maritime NZ, to produce five bar crossing films in association with Coastguard and NZ Police.

These films will walk you through the key safety steps you should take to make a safer bar crossing.

PLEASE NOTE: The Now Casting VHF channels mentioned in the Bar Crossing films have since changed. To see current Now Casting VHF channels, please click here.

New Zealand bar crossing

How to cross a bar safely in a trailer powerboat.

Raglan bar crossing

How to cross the Raglan bar (west coast bar).

Tairua bar crossing

How to cross the Tairua bar safely.

Bowentown bar crossing

How to cross the Bowentown bar safely.

Kaituna (Maketu) bar crossing

How to cross the Kaituna (Maketu) bar safely.

Coastguard courses

Coastguard provide training to skippers who are likely to encounter bar crossing situations in their vessels, to enable greater levels of safety and proficiency.

Coastguard Bar Crossing Course

Email to register your interest.

Tairua / Pauanui
Email to register your interest.