Harbourmaster warning: boats are floating away

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Queenstown’s harbourmaster is warning boat owners to check moorings with some craft floating away as flood-prone Lake Wakatipu rises.

And harbourmaster Marty Black says it’s not just Lake Wakatipu but Wanaka and Hawea that are all high following prolonged rain – and boat owners on all three lakes should make checks.

Black says he’s received reports of dinghies that had been pulled up above the waterline and left unsecured, but were now beginning to float away as water levels rose. 

Boaties on the lakes this weekend should also be aware of floating debris, he warns.
 
Black and official flood risk watchers are keeping an eye on Queenstown’s rising Lake Wakatipu.

Otago Regional Council staff plan to monitor the lake during the weekend as the water laps the top of steps at Queenstown Bay.

On Friday night it was at 310.9 metres above sea level – and national weather forecaster Metservice is picking the lake to peak at 311.2m early on Monday.

That is 10 centimetres below the level where minor ponding occurs in the lakeside grass reserves.

A statement by ORC warns the rising lake may put pressure on the downtown Queenstown stormwater system.

River level and rainfall information are available here: ORC INFO SITE

The last time the lake was on the brink of flooding the township was in 2009 when it neared the top of the lake wall and businesses frantically sandbagged shops and cleared out stock. The waters receded before any serious flooding occurred.