Yachts and recreational vessels

If you're bringing a yacht or recreational vessel into New Zealand, you need to meet the requirements of the Craft Risk Management Standard (CRMS) for Biofouling. Find out the requirements and how to meet them.

What you must do

Most yachts and recreational vessels arriving in New Zealand fall under the CRMS long-stay category. Long-stay vessels are those staying 21 days or longer, or visiting areas not approved as ports of first arrival.

If you're bringing a long-stay vessel to New Zealand, you should meet the CRMS requirements by providing evidence that the entire hull, including niche areas, has been cleaned less than 30 days before arrival.

Short-stay vessels can meet the standard by providing evidence of continual hull maintenance using best practice.

Providing evidence

Before you arrive, MPI will ask to see evidence that you have:

It's good practice to keep thorough records of your vessel's cleaning and antifouling history in one place, such as in a log book. Records should include:

  • antifouling paint details including:
    • inspections
    • notes on the effectiveness of the paint (dated)
    • the anti-fouling manufacturer's product data sheet
  • dates, location and facility or person that carried out:
    • the last dry docking or haul-out
    • antifouling and treatment of internal seawater systems
    • hull inspection (and whether it was cleaned)
  • receipts from marinas, haul-out facilities and paint suppliers.

Maintain, inspect and clean niche areas

Niche areas are protrusions, recesses, or unpainted areas of the hull, that are susceptible to biofouling. It is important to show evidence that all niche areas have been cleaned prior to arrival in New Zealand.

Recreational vessel showing niche areas, with close ups of propeller and shaft

Internal seawater systems

Internal seawater systems can be high-risk areas for biofouling and can contain many foreign species. Monitor them regularly to make sure biofouling doesn't build up. Treat or flush internal systems with fresh water or use an approved preventative chemical treatment before you leave for New Zealand.

Hull appendages

Any hull appendage can act as a niche area, even when painted with effective antifouling. Be sure to clean all hull appendages before coming to New Zealand.

Fishing equipment

Clean all equipment used in seawater such as nets, lines and bottom grabs after use and check for biofouling before storage.

Use suitable hull antifouling

The vessel hull should be painted with antifouling that can prevent biofouling accumulating between haul outs. The paint you apply should suit:

  • the planned dry docking schedule
  • the vessel's speed and activity
  • any periods that the vessel will be stationary
  • what the vessel is made of – antifouling paints are made for different hull material (such as steel, wood or aluminium).

Where antifouling paint is damaged or no longer working well, consider in-water repair of the paint in the area, even if minor.

Cleaning with an MPI-approved treatment supplier

If you plan to have your vessel hauled out or re-fitted in New Zealand, you can comply with the CRMS by:

  • booking an appointment for haul out with an MPI-approved treatment supplier (the booking time must be within 24 hours of arrival)
  • giving MPI evidence of your booking with the provider.

Continual maintenance

In general, all recreational vessels should use continual maintenance to manage biofouling. Continual maintenance involves ongoing management of biofouling, including:

  • coating the hull and niche areas with antifouling paint appropriate for the planned voyage – consider the time sailing, time to be laid up, estimated speed of vessel
  • regularly inspecting and cleaning the hull and niche areas, including during the voyage
  • having contingency plans in place to minimise fouling if your plans change
  • keeping records to show how biofouling is managed.

More information on best practice for recreational vessels can be found in the International Maritime Organization's (IMO's) Guidance for minimizing the transfer of invasive aquatic species as biofouling (hull fouling) for recreational craft.

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about biofouling requirements for yachts and recreational vessels, email 

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