Maritime Rules Part 81

Commercial Rafting Operations

Current version of Part 81

This rule applies to:

  • Commercial rafting operations
  • Raft guide vocational training
  • Hire of rafts to the public without a guide.

Download Maritime Rules Part 81[PDF: 100kB, 27 pages]

Operators are required to have in place an approved safe operational plan. Operations must be audited, and the plan approved by the Director of Maritime New Zealand (MNZ).

Raft guide vocational training must be carried out in accordance with parameters and procedures defined by the operator or training provider in accordance with the rules.

Operators that dry hire rafts to the public (that is, hiring without a guide) are required to have a raft hire approval issued by the Director.

Under Part 81.35, Guides must hold current first aid certificates. Refer to the table below for a list of alternative first aid certificates accepted by the Director of MNZ.

List of alternative first aid certificates

The following table describes alternative first aid certificates accepted by the Director under rule 81.35(2) on the basis that holders receive training to an equivalent or higher standard than the standard required in rule 81.35(1).

Managing authority of first aid certificate Certificate name Equivalent to unit standard
NZQA Unit standards 26551 and 26552 6400
NZ Red Cross Comprehensive First Aid 6400
NZ St John Ambulance First Aid Level 2 6400
Peak Safety Outdoor First Aid 6400 and 424
Wilderness Medicine Institute Wilderness First Aid 6400
Wilderness Medicine Institute Wilderness First aid in combination with unit standard 265181 424
NZQA Pre-Hospital Emergency Care – unit standards 25411, 25412, 14473 6400
NZQA Pre-Hospital Emergency Care – unit standards 25411, 25412,14473 in combination with unit standards 265172 and 26518 424
British Red Cross First Aid at Work (FAAW) 6400
American Red Cross First Aid: Responding to Emergencies with Adult CPR component 6400

1Unit standard 26518: Apply serious incident management skills as a senior raft guide on Grade III or above river environments. This unit is included in the senior raft guide qualification.

2Unit standard 26517: Coordinate and manage multiple craft trips as a senior guide on Grade III or above river environments. This unit is included in the senior raft qualification.

List of river rescue training course equivalents

The following table describes river rescue training courses that Maritime NZ considers consistent with the requirement detailed in the national raft guide award under rule 81.34(2). Evidence of successful completion of the courses will be accepted by Maritime NZ as evidence of trip leader currency in river rescue skills.

Maritime NZ acceptance is conditional on the scope of the training courses’ contents remaining in all substantive respects the same as described in the information available to Maritime NZ as at the date of acceptance.

Training provider Training course and certificate Date of acceptance1
Boreal River Rescue Whitewater Rescue Technician Level III 04 July 2018
Rescue 3 International Swiftwater Rescue Technician Advanced 12 April 2016
Rescue 3 International Whitewater Rescue Technician 2 12 April 2016
Rescue 3 International River Rescue Certification - Professional 12 April 2016

1Rule 81.34(2) itself does not confer any express discretion on the Director to accept equivalent courses.  Acceptance here means that Maritime NZ considers that trip leaders successfully completing the named courses are maintaining currency in river rescue as required by rule 81.34(2).

Advisory circulars

Advisory circulars describe a rule, its purpose and how to comply
Part 81 advisory circular

[PDF: 296kB, 12 pages]


Material incorporated by reference

Standards and codes referenced in this rule can be found here

Read more

History of Part 81



This Part was amended by Maritime Rules Various Amendments 2014, in 2015.

Maritime Rules Various Amendments 2014 [PDF: 366kB, 18 pages]


Safety Guideline

A safety guideline was published for managing risks related to alcohol and other drugs.

Safety Guideline - Managing Risks: Alcohol and other drugs - raft and jet boat operators, 2013 [PDF: 107kB, 4 pages]


New part comes into force

Part 81 entered into force on 1 April 2011.


New part signed

Part 81 was signed into law by the Transport Minister on 13 September 2010.

Part 81: Original rule [PDF: 221kB, 46 pages]