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 one of the designated places of first arrival approved for the arrival of yachts:
- Opua Marina (Bay of Islands)
- Marsden Point (Marsden Cover Marina)
- Auckland (Quarantine wharf in port or super yachts can arrive at The Viaduct)
- Tauranga (Bridge Marina)
You can also arrive at the following ports, however first call the local port radio to be directed to approved berth.
- Nelson Port
- Picton Port (Port Marlborough)
- Timaru (Prime Port)
- Bluff (South Port)
If, through an emergency, you have landed at a different place than planned, you must advise MPI at the nearest office and also alert NZ Customs. Application can be made to arrive at another place than those listed above. Prior approval must be obtained through the formal process ahead of commencing the voyage.
Before your arrival
You must also advise the 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:
- Master's Declaration - Full Clearance
- Passenger Arrival cards for all people disembarking in New Zealand.
- Clearance procedures for yachts and pleasure craft (PDF, 337 KB)
- New Zealand's new border rules on hull fouling (PDF, 2.3 MB)
- Full information on pets, cats and dogs - see below
- Full information on biofouling - see Notice to operators entering high value areas (PDF, 923 KB)
- Hitchhiking pests (PDF, 438 KB)
Important information for pleasure craft on biofouling
Vessels arriving in New Zealand can accidentally introduce harmful exotic marine organisms with the potential to seriously damage the marine environment that New Zealanders value. Marine pests can be transferred to New Zealand as biofouling on the hulls and in niche areas such as beneath keels, around propellers and rudders, recesses, shafts and 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.
- If cleaning your hull in New Zealand: Use a facility that captures the discharge from the treatment. Your Biosecurity Inspector will be able to direct you to MPI approved haulout facilities.
- 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: Do not discharge removed fouling material into the sea.
New Zealand has released new requirements for hull biofouling on arriving vessels. These come into force in 2018 after a four year lead-in period. During the lead-in period, MPI will continue to take action on severe risk biofouling. Inspectors may use cameras to inspect your hull on arrival.
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 your port of arrival before coming alongside. Depending on the stage of preparation of the animal to 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 in 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.
- Advance Notice of Arrival
- Biofouling and Ballast Water Declaration: Parts 1 and 2 (DOC)
- Biofouling and Ballast Water Declaration: Part 3 (DOC)
- Biofouling and Ballast Water Declaration: Part 3 extra pages (DOC)
- Passenger Arrival Cards
Page last updated: 28 April 2016