New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code

The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code (the Code) provides national best practice guidance to port operators and councils to manage the safety of marine activities in their ports and harbours.


The Code

The objective of the Code is to ensure the safe management of ships navigating in New Zealand ports and harbours, including the prevention of injury to people, loss of life and damage to the marine environment (including property).

The Code is a voluntary national standard. It supports national and local legislation.

New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code [PDF: 1.95Mb, 23 pages]


Annual reports



The Code is supported by a number of guidelines of good practice. These guidelines are under review but remain valid until updated.

Establishing and managing anchorages [PDF: 581kB, 21 pages] Key Principles for Marine Safety Risk Management [PDF: 1.64Mb, 32 pages] Aids to navigation guideline [PDF: 1.86Mb, 49 pages] Good practice guidelines for hydrographic surveys in New Zealand ports and harbours [PDF: 4.59Mb, 30 pages] Marine farm guidelines: navigational safety [PDF: 1Mb, 28 pages] Safety management of submarine cables and overhead lines crossing waterways [PDF: 1.03Mb, 28 pages]

Additional resources

Links to additional resources that may assist in implementing the Code and demonstrate good marine practices are provided below. This list will be added to as further resources are found and assessed for relevance:

Good Practice Guide for Pilots [PDF: 554kB, 24 pages] Good Practice Guide to Pilotage Planning [PDF: 1.12Mb, 21 pages]



The New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code was established in 2004 by Maritime NZ to provide a quality standard of good practice for risk assessment and safety management in ports and harbours. The voluntary Code was adopted by regional councils, Maritime NZ and port operators.

Following amendments to the Maritime Transport Act 2013 a review was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of the Code following 10 years of implementation.

As a result of this review and another high level review in 2020, the Code objectives were confirmed and the partnership approach between the three primary stakeholders, Maritime NZ, port operators and regional councils was endorsed. Achieving the Code objective through joint responsibility and working collaboratively remains the most effective way to attain consistency in the application of the Code on a national basis. To reinforce the commitment of the partners a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2016 that also set up a new governance structure supported by a dedicated Secretariat. The Memorandum of Understanding was re-signed in 2019.

Commercial port operators, regionals councils and Maritime NZ jointly have undertaken to:

  • ensure they comply with all legislation as it applies to them
  • identify the areas where they should apply the standards in the Code, taking into account the risks to navigation safety, and keeping this under review as necessary and
  • develop and operate a safety management system (SMS) for those areas supported by a formal risk assessment.


Contact us

If you have any questions about the code, contact us.

+64 4 494 1603