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How does YNZ support their members?

We’re really proud of the work we do to represent the needs and interests of yachties and boaties in New Zealand.

Often the work we do goes unseen, and the benefits of belonging to the national body go unrecognised by many. Yachting New Zealand is the national body for sailing and boating, representing and advocating on behalf of member yacht and boating clubs, class associations and you as members of those clubs. We’ve put together this document to give you a better understanding of what we do but it’s by no means an exhaustive list.

Building club capability

We provide guidance and resources to clubs and classes and offer advice around how they might administer their club, including risk management, volunteer training, inclusion, event management, coaching resources and much more and a lot of this is included in the club manual found on our website. Feedback from around the country suggests the assistance from our four regional development managers is invaluable to club capability and as a conduit between clubs and the national body. Yachting New Zealand support club fundraising efforts, including helping access greater levels of funding from community and gaming trusts than would be possible were the club not affiliated to the national body. With increasing pressure on waterfront land and valuable positions such as those occupied by yacht and boat clubs, there is a greater need than ever to retain these positions and having the support of a national body can be invaluable.

Yachting New Zealand have developed an environmental strategy we hope will prompt real change within the sport and we’re also working on providing a template to clubs and events for them to use. It’s been encouraging to see the uptake on this front, and we’ve worked with a number of leading organisations and individuals to ensure a greater and more effective reach.

Technical and safety support

On the technical and safety side, Yachting New Zealand maintain and update the safety regulations and carry out yacht inspections for racing on behalf of Maritime New Zealand. Members of affiliated clubs also receive a discounted price on category 1 inspections for offshore voyages. Yachting New Zealand staff, through their work with World Sailing, stay up to date with relevant safety standards and rules.


Yachting New Zealand spend a significant amount of time advocating on behalf of members, from preventing legislation such as compulsory registration of vessels to protecting safe anchorages that we have all enjoyed for decades. This incurs significant cost, not to mention time involving Yachting New Zealand staff to prepare submissions as well as sit on the various committees and forums, but we think it’s critical to advocate on behalf of the whole boating community to protect access to the water and provide safe passage and anchorage to all forms of watercraft. A list of legal submissions and cases Yachting New Zealand are involved in can be found here

One of the most significant wins for the whole boating community was the outcomes we fought for in Plan Change 4 and continue to fight for in the Northland Regional Plan review process. Plan Change 4 was a proposal by the Northland Regional Council that would make it easier to establish marine farms in this area, but we initiated an appeal worried that marine farming could clog popular bays and hamper safe passage and cruising through the Northland region and received a successful outcome in the Environment Court. Decisions made in one region can have implications in other regions.  

Yachting New Zealand also have staff on many groups, forums and committees across our sector to ensure boaties’ interests are represented in areas such as antifoul regulations, life jacket wearing, maritime education, and many more.

Racing and handicaps

All clubs and sailors who want to race both locally in national championships and in international regattas need to be a member of a club affiliated to Yachting New Zealand, and any club who wish to run racing using the Racing Rules of Sailing must be affiliated to the national body. Clubs not affiliated cannot use the Racing Rules of Sailing and instead must use the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, more commonly known as the COLREGs. If you have to use the COLREGs, this can have a significant impact on a club’s marine and liability insurance.

Yachting New Zealand also run the national PHRF handicapping system, to ensure fair racing across fleets and when yachts from different clubs meet, like during the Coastal Classic and Round North Island Race. We also maintain the boat register and provide guidance to clubs who run racing and events. 

Training and education

Clubs need race officials and we provide free training for race officials (race officers, judges, umpires, and measurers) and volunteers, with many going on to officiate at top international events. Affiliated groups can also attend any of our coach education courses, from learn to sail and keelboat coach right up to high performance coach. We have recently included some of this in our online education courses, which makes it more convenient and more accessible nationwide for the participant, and we are working on expanding this to all levels of coaching.

We have a national learn to sail syllabus and qualification pathway (for dinghies and keelboats), which is accredited by World Sailing. Many people use the keelboat qualifications to then go on to charter boats in New Zealand and around the world.

RŪNĀ schools programme

Yachting New Zealand has developed a schools programme called RŪNĀ which encourages children to learn from the past so they can steer towards a more sustainable future. Each module is made up of in-classroom learning experiences delivered by teachers, supported by a sailing experience at their local club, and followed by a call for learners to take action. These include opportunities to develop water skills for life and safer boating skills to ensure Kiwi kids learn and develop the knowledge and skills to safely enjoy our marine environment. Yachting New Zealand has been the conduit between schools and clubs to deliver this programme with the added aim of participants continuing in our sport for life.

MOSS Exemptions

These courses cannot run without on-water support vessels. Many of these boats are technically commercial vessels, which would carry significant costs if they had to be in survey. Yachting New Zealand have worked with Maritime New Zealand to develop an exemption pathway for member clubs to enable these vessels to be exempt from the requirements of MOSS (Maritime Officer Safety System), resulting in substantial savings in both time and money to ensure clubs are compliant with the applicable rules and law. This process sees Yachting New Zealand working with clubs to ensure they are operating their vessels to best practice in terms of safety and is not available to clubs or organisation not affiliated to Yachting New Zealand.

Supporting pathways to high performance

New Zealand is at the forefront of international sailing and our high performance and talent development programmes are world-class. We provide youth training clinics, pathway support, coaching and campaign support to top talent and many from Yachting New Zealand’s high performance programmes go on to compete in international competitions such as the Olympics, America’s Cup, The Ocean Race, TP52 Super Series and Extreme Sailing Series to name but a few. Many have won world championships at both youth and open level, not to mention match racing and other non-Olympic class regattas, and many more have gone on to have successful academic careers.

Member benefits

The digital member card and app provides club members access to a range of discounts through a host of businesses around the country and also acts as a proof of membership for regattas and for complying with the liquor licensing laws. The member card has enabled many to take advantage of significant savings, including fuel and insurance, as well as helping Yachting New Zealand to leverage our relationship with clubs to acquire sponsorship and help keep the affiliation fee at a reasonable level. See here for more. No club member information will be shared with a third party. Having an in-depth understanding of club membership demographics helps us to target our services to clubs more effectively as well as retaining community funding by meeting the Sport New Zealand reporting requirements.

An information hub

We refreshed our website a couple of years ago, making it more user-friendly and easier to navigate, and also added a more comprehensive regatta calendar. Our strategic plan is due for a refresh later this year and we’d welcome feedback on where you think we can add extra value and how we can continue to grow our partnership and sport in future.

Yachting New Zealand publish a fortnightly e-newsletter Briefings, which helps keep the sailing and boating community informed and connected. If you do not receive this, we recommend you sign up via our website. We’ve also started a podcast, and have helped produce programmes on sailing events as part of the Sky Sport Collective (which can be found here) and have plenty of offerings on our various Facebook and Instagram pages. We strive to be better and welcome feedback, but we are proud of the work we do on behalf of our members, and the value we provide to clubs, their members, and the sailing and boating communities generally.