All vessels sailing to New Zealand (including yachts and other pleasure craft) need to meet a number of obligations prior to and on arrival to ensure New Zealand’s environment, economy and people are protected from imported pests and diseases.
Firstly, you MUST arrive at a designated place of first arrival approved for the arrival of yachts.
Before your arrival
You must also advise Ministry for Primary Industries of your arrival port and date, either by emailing the staff at your planned place of arrival or sending a message through New Zealand Maritime Radio.
When nearing New Zealand, contact can be made by calling Maritime Radio on 4125 kHz or 6215Khs or VHF Ch 16. Please ask the radio operator to relay your confirmed ETA (or full arrival details if not given earlier) to MPI, either directly, or via Customs, so that officials can prepare for your arrival.
If your vessel carries ballast water you will be required to meet the biosecurity requirements for ballast water.
Once inside New Zealand waters (12 nautical miles from the coast), please ensure all rubbish is kept on board - either contained in closed, leak-proof containers or sealed in strong plastic bags. When you arrive, the Biosecurity Inspector clearing you for entry to New Zealand will direct the disposal of all refuse
The Biosecurity Inspector will ask you to complete some paperwork and request other specific information in relation to the crew, goods aboard and voyage history. You will be given the necessary forms on arrival, but you may consider giving attention to the issue enroute by viewing the documents below:
- The Master's Declaration - Full Clearance
- Passenger Arrival cards for all people disembarking in New Zealand.
- Clearance procedures for yachts and pleasure craft
- Full information on pets, cats and dogs - see below
- Full information on biofouling – see below
- Hitchhiking pests (873 KB)
Important information for pleasure craft on biofouling and biosecurity
Vessels arriving in New Zealand can accidentally introduce harmful exotic marine organisms with the potential to seriously damage the marine environment New Zealanders value. Marine pests can hitchhike to New Zealand as biofouling on the hulls and in niche areas such as beneath keels, around propellers and rudders: recesses, shafts, casings, around anodes and skin fittings and associated with internal water systems.
There are some simple but very important measures you can take to help reduce the problem:
- Clean hull: Before departing your last port bound for New Zealand – clean your hull, keel and hull fittings of fouling. Wash out places where marine organisms are able to live such as water inlets and outlets, anchor wells and cockpit areas (any places where seawater is retained). Ensure your antifouling paint is in good condition and effective. See New Zealand's local guide to boat cleaning.
- Clean on arrival if you have not cleaned before departure: If you have been unable to access cleaning facilities prior to your departure for New Zealand, have your vessel cleaned within four days of arrival, particularly if you plan to stay for more than two weeks. Your Biosecurity Inspector will be able to direct you to local haulout facilities (which contain and treat discharges) at your place of arrival.
- Do not beach: Do not clean your hull by beaching your vessel or by cleaning it in the water unless the fouling present is no more than a slime layer.
- Disposal: Put fouling or removed sediment material into a container and dispose of it on land (ie in marina or port rubbish bins). Do not discharge such material into the sea or coast.
- 2012 IMO Guidance for minimising the transfer of invasive aquatic species as biofouling (hull fouling) for recreational craft (260 KB)
When you arrive at your first port of arrival, all people and goods must remain onboard until clearance has been completed, unless there is an emergency situation.
Any animals must be secured on board, preferably below decks. If you are arriving with a dog or cat on board contact the MPI inspector at port of arrival before coming alongside. Depending on the stage of preparation of the animal tp meet New Zealand’s health requirements, you may be required to remain on a mooring.
Ministry for Primary Industries staff will come aboard and ask you to complete the Masters declaration and sign it in their presence . The Biosecurity Inspector will carry out an inspection of the vessel, review and complete documents, examine any animals on board, remove the vessel's refuse, and examine any bicycles and sports gear to be taken into New Zealand. All luggage may be examined by the inspector.
You will be asked to declare all food and risk goods. Declare these on the Masters Declaration if they are the galley stores or belong to the vessel generally and on Passenger Arrival Cards if they are goods being brought in by a specific person. If you are uncertain about anything, declare it!
All risk goods will be removed for destruction by the inspector unless you request items such as wooden items to be treated at your expense and returned to you.
There are serious penalties for non-compliance or making a false declaration.
Yachts normally receive full biosecurity clearance that allows them to cruise freely in New Zealand waters.
There are no charges for routine clearance of vessels at approved places of first arrival.
Page last updated: 26 April 2013