Safe Operational Plans for dive vessels

Learn about Safe Operational Plans (SOP) for diving vessels and how you can get one.

Commercial vessels of six metres or less in length that are engaged solely in excursions, which do not proceed beyond enclosed waters (or more than five miles from a safe haven on the coast of New Zealand), are required to have a Safe Operational Plan (SOP) under Maritime Rule Part 40A.

a diver with full diving equipment is on the surface of the water with a dive flag behind them on the left and a power boat is behind on the right.

A vessel required to operate under a Safe Operational Plan cannot then be under a Maritime Transport Operator Plan.

How to get a Safe Operational Plan:

To get a Safe Operational Plan, you will need to do the following:

  1. Contact your nearest diving vessel Authorised Person/Safety Auditor for an inspection, audit and approval of your operation.*Complete and submit the application form.
  2. Complete and submit the application form.
  3. When your SOP has been approved, you will need a Certificate of Compliance from Maritime New Zealand before you can begin operating.
  4. The Certificate of Compliance will be valid for four years and if you wish to continue operating you must re-apply for a new certificate (see the process above) before the old one expires.
  5. During the period the Certification covers each operation must be audited.  Under Rules Part 40A the audits must be two yearly but Certified operators have been exempted from that requirement. Instead, each operator will be audited at a frequency determined by their risk profile.
  6. Maritime NZ does the risk profiling and conducts the audits. These are known as ‘routine audits’ and are conducted free of charge.
  7. At the time you are certified you will be advised of when your first routine audit will be carried out.
Download List of Authorised Persons [PDF: 59kB, 1 page]

Complete this form:

  • To apply for a new certificate of compliance for fishing vessels
  • to renew an existing certificate of compliance
  • if you have added or removed a boat(s) from your operation or made changes to the boats in your operation, or
  • to advise Maritime NZ if you are no longer operating.
Certificate of Compliance or Certificate [PDF: 254kB, 8 pages]

*This is on behalf of the Director of Maritime New Zealand.


Contact us

If you require any further information about safety management systems, please contact your local Maritime Officer.

+64 4 473 0111


Related information:

Getting help

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