Fishing and anchoring around submarine (underwater) cables can cause serious harm. Even minor damage can have potentially serious consequences.
Wellington Electricity owns a number of submarine cables, mainly along Te Awa Kairangi (the Hutt River) and across Te Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour.
Care should be taken to avoid anchoring or fishing in the vicinity of these cables to avoid the risk of damage to them. Damaging a submarine cable can result in widespread power outages, criminal penalties for those legally responsible, and even injuries to or loss of life of those on board.
In the event of a submarine cable strike, the safest thing to do is abandon any snagged gear and phone us on 0800 248 148 straight away. If you are in danger, or can’t contact us by phone, use VHF distress channel 16.
Triangular warning signs indicating the location of a submarine cable crossing are located on the shore at each end of the cable, with sea-based submarine cables shown as magenta wavy lines on official nautical charts. Due to possible positioning inaccuracies, fishermen are advised to keep a minimum distance of one nautical mile from either side of charted cables.
Also be aware of the Cook Strait Cable Protection Zone (CPZ), an area off the coast of Wellington where critical National Grid cables lie on the seabed.