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Charteris Bay

Aon Club of the Month - Charteris Bay Yacht Club

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Former Charteris Bay Yacht Club commodore Mike Pearson has some simple advice for clubs looking to get a MOSS exemption: keep it practical and use it as a chance to review how your club can operate better.

Pearson played a leading role in Charteris Bay becoming the first affiliated club to receive their MOSS (maritime operators safety system) exemption, which is necessary under the Maritime Transport Act 1994 for any clubs who pay anyone to operate a boat.

Charteris Bay received their exemption in September. It wasn’t always an easy process but Pearson said it was a helpful one on a number of different levels.

“It has been a useful process as we’ve had to step back and look at things again,” he said. “We felt that we had developed a lot of good practice over the last 75 years or so but we found new ways of doing things, made them the standard practice and provided the training.

“We are quite fortunate that, among our members, we have people who are actually quite familiar
with this type of work. Our advice to other clubs is to find out who among your membership has
special skills who can help - people who are familiar with health and safety or maritime rules,
maintenance of boats, people with training abilities and people who can write documents in a
practical way and not a big complicated legal way.

"Aim at the intention of the law. Don’t get too tied up in the ifs, whats and wherefores. Keep it practical. We were also fortunate to have a lot of support from our RSO, Ian Gardner."

Charteris Bay is a typical New Zealand yacht club. Established in 1939 on the opposite side of Lyttelton Harbour to the port, their focus over the last 40 years had been predominantly on junior sailing – they were the first club in this country to set  up Optimists – but more latterly have made an effort to attract senior sailors. They now regularly attract 15 Paper Tigers and half a dozen Finns for club racing, as well as the junior classes. The local community also support a busy adult learn to sail group called grey fleet.

Charteris Bay

On top of that, they also have a group of senior members called the Last of the Summer Wine
Construction Company. Many have been Charteris Bay members for more than 50 years and every Wednesday help out at the club with building and maintenance projects.

One is Pearson’s father, who is 89, and many still go out on the support boats including the
beautiful, old clinker Te Wharau (the Maori name for the Charteris Bay settlement). During the
winter, the Last of the Summer Wine Construction Company did a complete overhaul of the vessel and are presently refurbishing the clubhouse interior.

It will come as no surprise, then, that the Charteris Bay Yacht Club is a place many in the community gather. They now have close to 190 members and many make the journey from Christchurch, Lincoln and even the Canterbury plains. The junior sailing camps attract kids from all around the South Island and even as far away as Auckland.

Fittingly, the club reintroduced adventure sailing recently. They found many older teenagers
and adults still wanted to sail but weren’t interested in racing and Lyttelton Harbour has many beautiful bays and beaches accessible in most weather.

They still have club racing every second weekend, due to tides, and their close relationship with the two closest primary schools means their learn to sail classes are bustling.

The club will next month host the Charteris Bay Yacht Club Regatta, which double as the Canterbury championships for a number of classes, and will feature Optimists and P-Class, Paper Tigers, Finns, Flying Fifteens and R-Class. 

The fact the club have their MOSS exemption means they can get on with the practical business of hosting a regatta.

  •  For more more information about the MOSS exemption, the process, or to arrange an inspection, please contact us or your local Yachting New Zealand regional support officer.