Look-out and watchkeeping

Watchkeeping and keeping a look-out prevent collisions, groundings, strandings and sinkings, which could involve the loss of life.

Maritime New Zealand’s position statement on how the law applies to keeping a lookout at anchor and while underway is in place to help people understand their obligations, and to help prevent incidents that cause harm to people, property and our environment.

Lookout Position Statement [PDF 576 kb, 2 pages]


Watchkeeping guidance for commercial fishing vessels

Good watchkeeping helps to keep all people on a vessel safe and ensure everyone makes it home safely. This guidance contains advice for fishers about good watchkeeping practices, how to manage risks to safety, and your obligations under the law.

The guidance documents below cover the duties of PCBUs (owner-operator guide) and workers (crew guide) under HSWA. Circumstances will vary from boat to boat, and you should consider how the guidance applies to your situation. For example, sometimes skippers are also the owner-operator, sometimes they are not. However, everyone involved in watchkeeping should be aware of each piece of guidance as each contains useful information about good watchkeeping practices and what is required under the law.

Keeping a watch – guidance for crew

Keeping a watch - Guidance for crew [PDF: 716kB, 6 pages]

This guidance for crew describes practical steps crew members can take to stay safe when they are on watch, and their health and safety rights and obligations.

Watchkeeping guidance for owner-operators (PCBUs)

Watchkeeping guidelines for fishing vessel owners and operators (PCBUs) [PDF: 1.96Mb, 17 pages]

This guidance for owner-operators (PCBUs) provides information about safe watchkeeping practices – including practical examples of things they can do to manage risks – and their key obligations under the law.