Category Health and Safety
Type Policy
Approved by Vice-Chancellor, February 2006
Date Policy Took Effect 1 February 2006
Last approved revision 26 June 2017
Sponsor Chief Operating Officer
Responsible officer Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing


The University of Otago is committed to providing a safe work place for staff, students and visitors.

The use of small boats less than 7 metres in length is recognised as a potential area of high-risk operation.

The purpose of this policy is to provide a safe boat operating environment to protect the safety of those individuals involved and to ensure compliance with the Maritime New Zealand Legislation and requirements.

Organisational scope

This policy applies to all small boats (less than 7 metres in length) operations for vessels owned and operated by the University for the purposes of research and teaching. This includes students who are authorised to operate small boats for the University.

The operational requirements of small boats is further defined in the University of Otago Code of Practice for Small Boats (<7m).


Code of Practice for the operation of small boats at the University of Otago
Departmental Boat Officer
Maritime New Zealand
Marine Operator Safety System
Maritime Transport Operator Certificate
Maritime Transport Operator Plan
Small boat/vessel
A motorised boat less than 7 metres in length
University Boat Officer


To ensure that the University Code of Practice for the safe operation of boats 7 metres and under is complied with, the following responsibilities and accountabilities are defined:

  1. All boats are required to operate under the Marine Operator Safety System (MOSS) specifically the University of Otago Marine Transport Operator Certificate (MTOC).
  2. All boats <7 metres must have an individual Marine Transport Operator Plan (MTOP) approved under the MTOC requirements.
  3. All non-University boats that are hired or leased that are used by authorised University staff or students for University business must be operated under the University Code of Practice (COP) for the use of small boats (<7 metres).

Responsibilities and accountabilities

  1. The University of Otago as the employer is responsible for:
    1. Provision of boats, associated equipment and resources to meet the requirements of the COP and legislation, for the tasks and operations being undertaken.
    2. Compliance with the operating requirements as specified by the COP, MOSS, MTOP, MTOC and Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) legislation.
  2. University Boat Officer (UBO) is responsible for:
    1. Maintaining the small boat policy, COP, MTOC and MTOP to meet the requirements of the MNZ legislation and rules.
    2. Managing the COP certificates of competency issuing and authorisation.
    3. Providing training and support to departments on the safe operation of small boats.
    4. Reviewing and approving cruise plans and operational plans for all University small boat operations.
    5. Conducting audits and investigations into boat operations and reporting to senior management on levels of compliance and safety.
    6. Notification and communication with MNZ in relation to any boat matters.
    The UBO has the authority to revoke cruise plans and certifications of competency to cease at risk operations.
  3. University of Otago employees approved to issue Industry Specific Certificates are responsible for:
    1. Complying with the approved Training Framework and conditions of issuing “Industry Specific Certificates”.
    2. Completing small boat competency assessments as specified under the COP for University staff and students.
    3. Reporting to the UBO on certificates in progress and when completed.
    4. Involvement in the investigation of boat related incidents as requested by the UBO.
  4. Pro-Vice-Chancellor's and Directors of Services using small boats are responsible for:
    1. Ensuring Heads of Departments (HODs)have sufficient resources to achieve the standards required by the COP, MTOP and MTOC requirements.
    2. Receiving bi-monthly reports on boating activities and levels of compliance and exception reports as required.
  5. HODs/Managers of Services are responsible for:
    1. Providing the Departmental Boat Officer (DBO) with the support and resources for compliance with the small boat COP, MTOC and MTOP requirements.
    2. Monitoring and reporting on levels of compliance with the requirements within their department.
  6. Departmental Boat Officers (DBO) are responsible for:
    1. Maintaining departmental boats to the required COP, MTOP and MTOC requirements including inspections and auditing functions.
    2. Conducting the practical assessments of staff and students for boat operation as per the COP, for final authorisation by the University Boat Officer.
    3. Maintaining the required documentation for MTOP and MTOC approvals.
    4. Reporting any incidents as soon as possible to the University Boat Officer and participating in investigations as required.
    5. Submitting cruise plans to the UBO prior to any boating activity.
    6. Completion of audits and reports as required by the University Boat Officer.
  7. University staff and students are responsible for:
    1. Compliance with the MOSS, MTOC, MTOP, this policy and COP at all times.
    2. Following the instructions of the DBO and UBO.
    3. Submitting cruise plans to the DBO prior to field trips.

Acquisition of new boats

The type and specification of all proposed boats to be acquired by the University must be reviewed and approved by the UBO prior to purchase.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact:

Director, Health, Safety and Wellbeing

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