New requirements for pleasure craft departing overseas

In the wake of too many boating rescues, skippers leaving New Zealand for overseas ports are now required to obtain a Cat 1 safety certificate, which is sure to provoke mixed reactions among yachties. Have your say.

Yachting New Zealand has been working with Maritime New Zealand to clarify the process skippers must undertake to best prepare their vessels before heading overseas.

Under Section 21 of the Maritime Transport Act, New Zealand-registered vessels must obtain a Category 1 safety certificate before departing New Zealand.

Skippers of New Zealand-registered vessels must also notify the director of Maritime New Zealand of their intention to leave.

This can be done using a simple online form, which is found on the Maritime New Zealand website:, and skippers of foreign vessels are encouraged to follow this process as well.

“Yachting New Zealand has been delegated by the director of Maritime New Zealand to conduct Category 1 safety inspections,” Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie said.

“The inspections focus on the design, construction and condition of the vessel as well as the capability and qualifications of the skipper and crew undertaking the voyage.

“The primary reason for these inspections is to make sure everyone departing New Zealand remains as safe as possible throughout the voyage, and that they can get help if anything goes seriously wrong.

“We ask that skippers engage with Yachting New Zealand early in the process to make sure they are supported throughout and any last-minute problems are avoided.”

Maritime New Zealand and Yachting New Zealand have also published an easy-to-follow flow chart to help people better understand what needs to be done to obtain a Category 1 safety certificate and comply with the act. This can be found here or on the Maritime New Zealand website.

“Working alongside our colleagues at Yachting New Zealand means that, from a safety and design perspective, skippers know exactly what they have to do to be given permission to depart,” Maritime New Zealand manager sector engagement and collaboration Baz Kirk said.

“Skippers must also ensure their vessel is registered with and departure details provided to Maritime New Zealand before they leave, and keep in mind travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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