Harbour Control

Harbour Control is manned by qualified staff 24 hours a day, and is based at the gatehouse at Port Chalmers. Harbour Control monitor VHF channels 16, 14 and 62 and can track vessels on the approaches to and within Otago Harbour utilising Radar and Automatic Identification System (AIS). They also monitor Aids to Navigation in the form of lights, beacons, etc. providing the status of these to shipping and Harbour users.

Reporting Procedure 48hr/24hr ETA

All vessels over 12 metres in length must call Harbour Control before entering Otago Harbour on the main navigational channel.

Communication with Vessels

Port Otago Harbour Control maintains full ship-to-shore communication systems, with a continuous 24 hour listening watch on VHF radio channels 16, 14 and 62.

  • VHF Channel 16: Vessels may contact Harbour Control initially on CH16 then move to working channel
  • VHF Channel 14: Commercial vessels working channel
  • VHF Channel 12: Tugs working channel
  • VHF Channel 62: Recreational and local fisherman's operating channel
  • VHF Channel 79: Recorded weather information

Additional contact points

Telephone: +64 3 472 9882
Email: harbourcontrol@portotago.co.nz 

Taiaroa Head Equipment

Harbour Control staff operate equipment sited at Taiaroa Head (formerly Signal Station) remotely from Port Chalmers.  The equipment consists of radar, weather station, VHF equipment, AIS receiver and a generator to provide backup power. 

The "Bar Light"

In addition, at Taiaroa Head is a red flashing light which may be operated from Harbour Control.  The red flashing light signifies that the bar at the entrance to the Otago Harbour is breaking. This is a safety signal for all Harbour users.

Harbour Control can provide real time information on tide heights from three sites within Otago Harbour as well as wind force and direction from four sites.  The tide and wind information is also available in the Harbour Conditions section.

Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) solution at Port Otago

The following article describes the installation of a new VTS solution at Port Otago in 2016: