The Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016 state that an adventure activity does not include an activity for which a maritime document is required.

If you provide a maritime-based activity, this guidance will help you determine whether you are subject to the adventure activities regulations.

A person who carries out specific activities for which a maritime document is required or who operates a maritime transport operation (i.e. operates a commercial ship) must hold a maritime document issued by the Director of Maritime New Zealand under the Maritime Transport Act. The requirements for maritime documents are set by maritime rules.

The following table will help you determine if a maritime document is required (and your activity is therefore excluded from the Adventure Activities Regulations):

A maritime document is required: Maritime-based activities for which a maritime document is not required include:
  • when the activity is a maritime transport operation (i.e. the operation of a commercial ship), including –
    • activities taking place solely on the boat (eg jet boating, jet skiing) and
    • activities connected to the boat (eg shark cage diving, being towed by a boat)
  • when the conduct of the activity is specifically covered by a maritime rule 
  • river boarding
  • kayaking (including inflatable kayaks)
  • canoeing
  • cliff jumping (including when undertaken as an adjunct to a rafting trip)
  • activities such as scuba diving where a vessel is used only to transport participants to the site of the activity (note: a maritime document will be required for the use of the vessel for transportation)
  • white water rafting
  • Providers of these activities will be covered by the Adventure Activities Regulations if the activity meets the definition of an adventure activity [1]

Maritime Safety Management Systems (including MOSS)

Maritime Rules require operators to develop and follow a safety management system.

The Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) is the current system to support safety in maritime transport operations. Operators of dive boats under six metres may be covered by a Safe Operational Plan (SOP) system.

Both systems place emphasis on operator responsibility for managing all hazards in their maritime transport operation. If you operate activities off your boat, or activities that are not specifically covered by a maritime rule, then those activities will not be assessed as part of your maritime document application. If those activities are adventure activities, you will need to be registered with WorkSafe.

For some operators, parts of their activity may be covered by safety audits under both the MOSS/SOP and the Adventure Activities regimes (for example, the component of a scuba diving adventure activity where participants get on and off the boat, and the emergency management plan).

If your activities are covered more than one regime you do not need to develop two sets of documentation. Your safety management plan can cover all the maritime- based activities you provide, including those that require a maritime document and those covered by the Adventure Activities Regulations. The focus of the safety audits themselves will be different, but can be undertaken based on one set of documents. Maritime New Zealand and WorkSafe will continue to refine their processes to provide a seamless approach across the agencies.

Other duties and requirements under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015

If you operate in the maritime industry (for example, as a maritime transport operator or a seafarer) and are registered with WorkSafe as an adventure activity operator, you will still need to comply with all applicable duties and requirements under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.


[1] A maritime document:

  1. means any licence, permit, certificate or other document issued under Part 5 to or in respect of any person, ship, cargo, maritime procedure, or maritime product; and
  2. includes any foreign licence, permit, certificate, or other document recognised by the Director under section 41 or accepted by the Director under section 42


The information in this publication has no statutory or regulatory effect and is of a guidance nature only. The information should not be relied upon as a substitute for the wording of the Health and Safety at Work (Adventure Activities) Regulations 2016, the Maritime Transport Act 1994 (or any rules made under that Act).

While every effort has been made to ensure this information is accurate, WorkSafe and Maritime New Zealand do not accept any responsibility or liability for error of fact, omission, interpretation or opinion that may be present, nor for the consequences of any decisions based on this information.