Surveying a new or existing vessel for commercial use

Here is the short story of what is involved:

The vessel needs to have design approval given before it is built. The approval must be done by a surveyor recognised by MNZ for the type/construction of vessel (usually a Naval Architect). Exceptions are:

  • If the vessel is a production boat that has a sistership in survey, the design may already be approved. In such a case design approval is required for the sistership. The approval must be from a surveyor recognised by MNZ to do design approval for the type of vessel.
  • It is generally possible to bring an existing vessel that has been in Survey in Australia to USL code into New Zealand survey using the Australian design approval. New Zealand limits are assigned that are equivalent to those assigned in Australia.
  • If the vessel is under 7.5metres and has a sistership in use that has a record of safe use for a period exceeding 5 years. The sistership must be a constructed in the same facility to the same specification.

For new vessels, after design approval is given/established, the build is monitored by an in-construction surveyor to ensure compliance with the approved design and the relevant maritime rules for equipment etc. We can do this for wood and composite vessels up to 15m. The surveyor that does the design approval is not permitted to do the in-construction survey. After the construction is complete the in-construction surveyor issues a report.

The initial survey is done, a Certificate of Survey issued, and a future survey plan approved by the surveyor (can be the same surveyor as the in-construction). The vessel can enter in to a Maritime New Zealand Marine Operator Safety System (MOSS) operation. The certificate details the operation area limits, number of passengers, conditions etc.

Periodic surveys are done in accordance with the vessel specific survey plan (every 2-3 years) with Survey Certificate renewal every 5 years (typically). The periodic surveys must be done by a surveyor recognised by MNZ for the type/construction of vessel for periodic surveys. We can perform this function for wood and composite vessels up to 24m.

A list of surveyors and their survey recognition can be found here:

We are also able to provide technical files and vessel documentation services for commercial or recreational vessel operation.