Top Sailing Tips and Advice for Niue
By the time any skipper gets to Niue, a remote raised coral atoll in the South Pacific, they know what they’re doing when it comes to sailing. However, Niue presents a few challenges that have gotten yachties in the past, especially when it comes to navigating and mooring on the unforgiving coastline. So check out these essential sailing tips for Niue to feel a little more confident in your next South Pacific voyage.
1. Niue’s Coastline is Unforgiving
The first thing you need to know about sailing to Niue is that mooring here is a bit of a challenge. The island is a raised coral atoll, suddenly emerging out of the ocean with little notice. It’s advised to have a radar, which will pick up the island from about 10 miles away, which proves to be more effective than depth sounders. All in all, make sure you take extra precautions when approaching Niue. You will want to also apply this to the below point.
2. Check Out Beveridge Reef (with Caution)
On your way in or out of Niue, it’s worth checking out the stunning Beveridge Reef, around 120NM to the South East of Niue at 20º00S 167º47’W. This is an important habitat for reef sharks and sea turtles. However, this is another place where you’ll need to be careful, as the reef is entirely covered at high tide and some navigational systems are known to get its location wrong.
3. Make Your First Call When Approaching Niue, Not at the Wharf
First, you need to approach Niue at Alofi Bay. When you’re about five miles from Alofi, call Radio Niue on VHF Channel 16 to get instructions for Customs clearance. Only then will you be given instructions to either approach the wharf or to send a tender as per the radio instructions.
4. Have Your Customs Forms Already Complete to Speed Up the Process
The Customs forms for Niue are pretty extensive, including a Masters Certificate, Immigration Form, Health Department Form, Health Border Form, Vessel Report Form and a Niue Cash Report Form on arrival. While you can complete these once you arrive in Niue, completing these before arriving in Niue by downloading the forms from the Niue Yacht Club website will speed up the process. Most importantly, don’t forget to have your clearance documents ready from your last port of call. Learn more about Customs, Immigration and Quarantine in Niue in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Niue? and What to Declare When Arriving in Niue.
5. Contact the Niue Yacht Club for Mooring
For after your Customs clearance, you will need to find a place to moor. Call the Niue Yacht Club on Channel 16 then on Channel 10 to receive a mooring allocation and advice. Mooring is around NZ$25 a night and gives you access to the yacht club facilities, which you can learn more about in The Guide to Sailing in Niue.
6. Don’t Anchor Just Anywhere
Niue works hard to protect its marine life, especially its coral which is already under threat by warming sea temperatures. For this reason, avoid anchoring where you like. If there are no mooring spaces available, the Niue Yacht Club can advise on a safe anchoring located with a sandy ocean floor.
7. Be Aware of the Whale Watching Restrictions
Humpback Whales frequent Niue’s waters between July and September, where only licensed whale operators can get close to interact with whales. You must stay at least 200m away from whales and are prohibited from using jet skis, yacht tenders, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. for whale watching. For more about whale swimming experiences, see The Guide to Swimming with Whales in Niue.
8. Be Aware of the Diving Restrictions
Scuba diving in Niue’s crystal clear waters is sensational, but there are a few restrictions when it comes to diving from a personal yacht. For instance, there is no anchoring of yacht tenders on the reef. You must ask for permission from Niue’s dive operators to use their dive sites, who can be reached on VHF Channel 14 or called when onshore. There can be no more than two yacht tenders on any dive mooring at one time and no yacht tenders can join a dive boat if using dive site mooring. Spearfishing is prohibited unless with a licensed operator. Finally, there is a no-touch or take policy for diving in Niue. Learn about commercial diving operators in The Guide to Scuba Diving in Niue.
9. There is No Fishing, Diving or Boating on a Sunday
Respect the Niue customs by not taking part in any fishing, diving or boating activities on a Sunday. This is with the exception of tenders travelling between yachts and the wharf. For ideas on what to do on a Sunday, see the 10 Things to Do in Niue on a Sunday.
10. Plan Your Travels on the Island on Niue Pocket Guide
And there’s a lot more to learn about visiting the island of Niue, so browse Niue Pocket Guide and plan your visit. Learn about the services available on the island in Information, Shops & Services in Niue, find out about the local customs in Niue Etiquette: What are the Local Customs in Niue? and plan the amazing sights to visit in the 10 Must-Dos in Niue. A good place to start planning your trip is in our Niue Travel Advice: How to Plan a Trip to Niue.