Arrival Advice for Sailing to Niue
Niue is unlike your other South Pacific islands in that you have no outer reefs to negotiate but you do, however, have sudden coral walls that you don’t want to mess with. Needless to say, the Niue coastline is relatively unforgiving and getting the arrival process wrong could be costly. Luckily, we’ve put together this quick list of things to do when arriving in Niue by yacht, including the Customs process and finding a mooring spot.
1. Approach in the Day
Due to Niue’s unforgiving coastline and the lack of light produced by the island, it’s strongly recommended to only approach the island during daylight. Make sure you approach the west side of the island, as the east side has sudden coral walls that your depth sounder might not pick up fast enough. You should be able to get a radar reading about 10 miles off the coast but keep rechecking as you approach. Your arrival area for yachts in Niue is Alofi Bay.
2. Book Your Mooring Before Arrival
There are only 15 moorings available in Niue – that’s when there aren’t some closed for maintenance. With this in mind, and to make the arrival process unbelievably smooth, it’s recommended that you book your mooring prior to arrival. Each mooring has set coordinates which you can head straight to on arrival. Additionally, once your booking is made, you will receive a confirmation email that will also notify relevant authorities of your arrival details and you’ll also receive the arrival documents and procedures to enter Niue. Too easy!
Book your mooring on the Niue Yacht Club (NYC) page of the Niue Tourism website.
3. Have Your Forms Completed Before Arrival for a Smoother Process
You absolutely need to have your clearance documentation from your last port of call for arriving in Niue. Failing this, you’ll receive an instant NZ$200 fine. You will also be required to complete a Niue Vessel Report Form, Niue Health Declaration and Niue Biosecurity Declaration on arrival. However, you can complete these before arriving in Niue by downloading the forms from the links above. This will help speed up the Customs process.
4. There are Limited Check-In and Check-Out Times
To avoid having to pay after-hours fees, as well as to not be that guy or gal who shows up at an annoying time, aim to arrive at an appropriate time to check in with Immigration, Customs and Quarantine staff. Check-in (and check-out) times area:
- Monday – 9 to 11 am
- Tuesday to Friday – 9 to 10 am and 2 to 3 pm
- Saturday & Sunday – 9 to 10 am and 2 to 3 pm *by arrangement and subject to staff availability. Fees apply.
5. Know the Rules for Tenders at Alofi Wharf
Getting to Alofi Wharf by tender is just about the only way to land on Niue. There is an electric winch and tender parking area on the wharf, which is alongside the landing area. Tender trolleys are available, which you need to leave free for the next visitor when you unload your tender. After using the winch, return the winch arm and lower the hook to 1.8 m (6 ft) above sea level so it is ready for the next boat coming in. Finally, be sure to keep tender speeds down around the busy wharf.
For advice on the services in Alofi, take a look at the Information, Shops & Services in Niue.
6. Choose the Best Mooring
The NYC does a good job at inspecting and maintaining moorings to ensure that they are fit for purpose. However, be sure to provide your vessel’s length upon booking, as there is a mix of single and double-block moorings available that can accommodate yachts of up to 16 m (52 ft). Larger or heavy vessels should request a double block. Remember to use a reasonable amount of line when mooring.
Note that all vessels should leave the moorings in high or strong westerly winds due to their close proximity to the lee shore. Either head to sea, hove to or seek shelter in at the eastern side of the island.
7. Respect the Local Customs
Niue is a conservative and religious country with strict traditions that should be respected. For instance, it is against local customs to swim where vaka (canoe) fisherfolk are nearby. You should also avoid sunbathing naked (or topless for women) on deck – yes, you can still see this from land! For more rules to be aware of, check out Niuean Etiquette: Niue Customs & Traditions, as well as the NYC’s Dos and Don’ts For Yachties.
8. You Can’t Bring Plants, Food or Pets onto Shore
Niue has strict biosecurity rules which all ships much adhere to. Only food and products purchased in Niue can be transported on and off the boat. For pets, you’ll have to pay a bond for their secured custody on the ship.
It is the ship master’s responsibility to know and ensure the rules in the Notice to Ship Masters are abided by.
9. Support the Niue Yacht Club
Although no one at the Niue Yacht Club owns a yacht nor knows how to sail, the “Biggest Little Yacht Club in the World” has still installed and maintained the moorings, organises the arrivals process, and provides bathroom, freshwater, laundry tub and rubbish bin facilities for yachties. They have even arranged internet down at Jenna’s Restaurant for sailors/crew (this is a temporary setup, so inquire with the NYC if needed). Head down to the Visitor Information Centre to purchase some NYC merchandise to show your support!
10. On Departure…
Finally, when leaving Niue, ensure all of your mooring fees have been paid in full (see the Sailing Guide to Niue for more information). Fees can be paid to the Visitor Information Centre. During the check-out times stated above, present your departure documents for clearing and pay your departure tax, which you can find out more about in our Niue Tipping & Tax Guide for Travellers.
More Things to Know Before Arriving in Niue on a Yacht
That’s it for our advice and things to know before arriving in Niue on a yacht. For more tips, take a look at the following:
- The Ultimate Guide to Fishing in Niue
- The Guide to Scuba Diving in Niue
- 30 Tips for Travelling in Niue
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Sailing Guide to Niue: Tips for Yachting in Niue.