Several serious mishaps occurred on the Taieri Mouth Bar during 2020.

As a result of these alarming incidents, two public meetings to inform boaties about safety on the bar were held at the Brighton Surf Club, convened by Saddle Hill Community Board Chairman and paramedic Scott Weatherall.

The key to safely crossing the Taieri Mouth Bar is to know where the channel of deeper water is.

The problem with the Taieri Mouth bar is that the channel moves position constantly. This means that it is very easy to hit a sand bar on the way in or out. If that happens, usually the propellor strikes the sand and the boat stops. The next wave will turn the vessel sideways, a following wave will swamp the boat and others will roll it over with calamitous results.

As Ray Beattie advises in the article above, viewing the bar from a high observation point prior to going out, is the best way to determine the channel location.

However, most people cannot readily access such a view prior to their outing.

It was suggested at the safety seminars that a camera be installed at the bar so that people could have a good look at the situation not only when they choose to go online to examine the bar but also to check out the previous few low tides which would provide boaties a better indication of water flow.

The idea was greeted with universal approval in the room and DMSAR has taken it up.

Dunedin Marine SAR

Formed in 1971, Dunedin Marine Search and Rescue Inc is a body that provides highly skilled volunteers and resources for marine search and rescue operations on behalf of the New Zealand Police in Otago. Dunedin MSAR is a not-for-profit organisation that is made up of interested, trained and capable volunteer individuals and representatives from many organisations. 

Dunedin MSAR works to provide the best rescue capability possible in the aquatic environment in and around Otago. 

The Plan

Stage 1 – House Cam. A high-powered CCTV camera will be installed at the easiest possible location and a website built to provide pictures to the public alongside safety information as soon as practical. Access will be FREE to ALL. Target date: April 2021.

Stage 2 – Sand Cam. A 2nd camera will be placed at the end of the Taieri Mouth bar to provide an alternative, closer perspective at right angles to the first view of the bar. Target date: December 2021.

Stage 3 – Pole Cam. Once all necessary consents and structural arrangements are completed, the first camera will be remounted on a steel pole with concrete foundation at a more ideal vantage point overlooking the Taieri Mouth bar. Target date: April 2022

article f

Plenty of advice to ensure safe crossing of bar

ODT, October 13 2020

Read Article

Project Committee

A group was formed to drive and oversee the project: 


Steve Rushbrook – Otago Harbourmaster

Steve is the ORC Harbourmaster who works to ensure that our waterways are safe for everyone to enjoy.

Otago Regional Council (ORC) is responsible for the regulation of ports, harbours, waters, and maritime-related activities in the Otago region under the Maritime Transport Act (1994), except for Queenstown Lakes District which has their own Harbourmaster. Steve has a keen interest in all things nautical.


Max Corboy – Surf Lifesaving

Max has been instrumental in development of Surf Search and Rescue operations in our region, fostering the Otago Surf SAR Team into a highly skilled group.

He is also a St Kilda Surf Lifesaving Club committee member, a member of the Local Lifeguard Committee, event safety officer for local and regional events, and he masterminded the Otago Surf digital radio network that has enabled clear and reliable communications between the Dunedin clubs.


Martin Balch – Dunedin Marine Search & Rescue

Martin is the Chairman of Dunedin Marine SAR and heavily involved in Yachting. He is also Chairman of the Otago Maritime VHF association and South Island Mountain radio service, Secretary/Treasurer of the Otago amateur radio association and a flag officer of the Vauxhall Yacht Club.

His work and recreational life is all about effective communications to promote enjoyment and prevent mishaps.


Sergeant Nathan White - Otago Coastal SAR Coordinator

Nathan is based out of Dunedin Central Police Station. He is in his 20th year of policing, the last 7 associated with Search and Rescue (SAR). He is officer in charge of Otago Coastal SAR. In his own words: “SAR is an area I am passionate about and a role I get a lot of enjoyment from. I am fortunate to have a great team alongside me.”


Steve Bennett – Green Island Fishing Club

As Secretary of the GIFC for over a dozen years, Steve is closely involved with a wide range of fishers and enthusiastic in his support for this initiative.

He is a very active fisherman & diver as well as serving the community as a recreational fishing representative on the South East Marine Protection Forum.


Jules Radich – Project Coordinator

Jules is an active sea goer, having crossed many of the river and inlet bars around Dunedin during his 40 years of boat ownership. Spearfishing, scuba diving and line fishing are his main focus when out on the briny but photographing seabirds and our dramatic landscape also feature.

Jules is a Dunedin City Councillor and takes a keen interest in Community affairs. His strategic overview has led him to champion this project as the single best thing to improve boat user safety at Taieri Mouth.