Safe Operational Plans (SOP)

A Safe Operational Plan (SOP) is a safety management system that covers smaller commercially-operated specialist vessels and their operations.


A Safe Operational Plan (SOP) provides a practical set of safety requirements to ensure that certain specialised operations or craft have appropriate safety systems.

The following operations must be conducted under an approved safe operational plan:

  • Jet boats carrying passengers at planing speed on any river for hire or reward.
  • Hovercraft operating in New Zealand for hire or reward.
  • Registered fishing vessels that are six metres or less in length, operating in enclosed waters, or not more than two miles from the New Zealand coast.
  • Recreational dive vessels of six metres or less in length engaged solely in recreational diving, which do not proceed beyond enclosed waters, or more than five miles from a safe haven on the coast of New Zealand.


Getting a Safe Operational Plan

If your operation and your vessel meet the criteria for a Safe Operational Plan, contact an Authorised Person appropriate for your particular type of vessel. They will undertake an entry inspection and audit and approve your operation of behalf of the Director of Maritime New Zealand.

The detail in each Safe Operational Plan may be different reflecting local conditions and the individual circumstances of each operation.

Once approved, the operator is issued with a Certificate of Compliance. Each operation must undergo Safe Operational Plan audits in order for their Certificate to remain valid. This ensures the Safe Operational Plan is properly maintained and that the operation continues to comply.

Download List of Authorised Persons [PDF: 59kB, 1 page]


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

Contact a Maritime Officer for help with your operational and health and safety requirements.

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