By Alan Tristram
The Wellington Regional Harbour Master has increased monitoring and security on the Mana Road Bridge on SH1 because of hazards caused by bridge jumpers to swimmers and boaties.
Because of the dangers in this part of the Porirua Harbour this summer the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s harbour rangers have regularly visited the site and this year a security firm has been contracted to patrol and monitor activities.
Harbour Master Mike Pryce says that every year in hot weather swimmers come to the area to cool off.
“Some of them take to diving into Porirua Harbour from the Mana Road bridge, then swimming downstream and coming ashore via the Porirua City Council boat launching area, others picnic or swim in the boat launching areas unaware that it is often difficult for boaties to see them or to manoeuvre boats in tidal currents. It’s an extremely dangerous situation,” says Captain Mike Pryce.
Several agencies concerned
A number of agencies have responsibilities in this area.
The beach, above high-tide mark and boat ramp area, is under the control of Porirua City Council, while Greater Wellington Regional Council has responsibility for the area below the high tide mark where navigational and safety bylaws apply. The Mana Road bridge is owned and operated by New Zealand Transport Agency.
“There are so many risks present in this area and concern for both boaties and swimmers is high so the Regional Council has contracted additional help to manage the situation. Ultimately though it is up to individuals to make sure they are not putting themselves and others in danger,” says Captain Pryce.