Sailing Advice for Niue
Niue is a rewarding sailing destination, an island like nowhere else in the South Pacific. It’s the world’s largest raised coral atoll which means while there’s no outer reef to negotiate, anchoring up at this island which drops deeply into the depths below is pretty tricky. We’ll guide you through where to sail to, the customs process, the facilities, as well as the restrictions in this guide to sailing in Niue.
Quick Sailing Tips for Niue
- Niue’s coastline is unforgiving, follow the instructions carefully which Niue Customs and the Niue Yacht Club give you for anchoring and mooring
- If you have a radar, use it to check your distance – depth sounders don’t always give an accurate or quick enough warning of the coast
- You are required to make the first call when you are approaching Niue for Customs Clearance and a second call for mooring allocation
- Complete your clearance forms before arriving in Niue for a smoother process
- Note that there are no fishing, diving or boating activities allowed in Niue on a Sunday (apart from tenders to the wharf)
For more tips, see the 10 Essential Sailing Tips for Niue.
Where to Sail in Niue
Niue is unlike other South Pacific Island in that it is just one island and it doesn’t have an outer reef – just a short reef connecting to the island which suddenly drops into the deep ocean. So you won’t find yourself sailing from island to island in Niue, but simply anchoring where it is suitable to do so in Alofi. Nevertheless, there is one extra location in Niue’s waters that you might want to visit.
A great place to stop on your way to or from Niue, Beveridge Reef is a spectacular reef that’s an important habitat for grey reef sharks and three species of turtle. The reef is covered at high tide, but at low tide, you might be able to make out the sand dunes protruding out of the ocean.
Beveridge Reef is approximately 120NM to the South East of Niue at 20º00S 167º47’W. Be aware, yachts have been stranded on the reef, even when using some GPS navigational systems, so take all precautionary measures.
Due to Niue’s unforgivable coastline, there are only 17 moorings available on the island, all in Alofi Bay, which have been set up by the Niue Yacht Club. Niue is an island where you’ll want to anchor up and explore the rest of the island by car or part of the island by bike. Check out the 6 Types of Transport in Niue for ways to get around. Plus, see the 30 Tips for Travelling in Niue as a good place to start to plan your visit to the island.
Clearing Customs in Niue
Due to the lack of lights produced by the island, it’s advised that you arrive in Niue during the day. On arrival to Niue when you’re around 5 miles from the west coast of the island, you are required to make a first call to Niue Radio on VHF Channel 16. They will make an arrangement with Niue Customs, Health and Quarantine to arrange clearance. Customs clearance is available from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, but special arrangements may be able to made over the weekend. Niue Customs will instruct you on a time to arrive at Alofi Wharf for clearance.
On arrival to Niue, you must provide your official clearance from your last port of call. After that, you will need to complete several customs arrival forms, including a Masters Certificate, Immigration Form, Health Department Form, Health Border Form, Vessel Report Form and a Niue Cash Report Form. You can complete these once in Niue or download the forms from the Niue Yacht Club website and complete them before arrival to speed up the process.
For visiting Niue, visas are not required for most people. You will gain a 30-day visitor permit on arrival. Some nationals may have to apply for an entry permit before arriving in Niue, as explained in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Niue?
Note that there is a departure tax of NZ$80 for visitors aged 12 and over, which is payable to the Niue Customs office.
Niue has a few quarantine restrictions and prohibitions, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, eggs, honey or animal products. See the full list of declarable items in What to Declare When Arriving in Niue. Note that pets are not allowed on shore.
Mooring in Niue
There are 17 moorings in Niue overseen by the Niue Yacht Club. They are on a first-come-first-served basis. They are approximately NZ$25 to use each night of stay.
After going through clearance, you can make a call to the Niue Yacht Club on VHF Channel 16 then change to Channel 10 for mooring allocation and advice on mooring. You will be told an open mooring location for you to pass your yacht’s line through the eye and back to secure your yacht.
If there are no moorings available, then you will be directed to anchor off the wharf in a sandy area with a depth of 29 to 45m (95 to 147ft). You are not permitted to anchor elsewhere, as it could damage coral.
Niue Yacht Club Facilities
There are facilities at Alofi Wharf maintained by the Niue Yacht Club, including toilets and solar-heated showers. There is also a laundry tub and rubbish bins. A key to these facilities is available from the Niue Tourism Visitor Information Centre and costs approximately NZ$20, NZ$5 will be refunded when the key is returned. The Niue Yacht Club building is located behind the Alofi Commerical Centre, approximately 200m (656ft) from Alofi Wharf.
Useful Articles About Niue
For working out the logistics of arriving in Niue by yacht, including currency, payments, services in Niue, internet availability, refuelling etc. take a look at Niue Pocket Guide’s Travel Tips section which goes into detail.
Restrictions for Sailing in Niue
There are a few restrictions to be aware of when sailing in Niue, from whale interactions to where you can anchor. These restrictions also apply at Beveridge Reef. Here are just a few to be aware of.
Whale Watching Restrictions
Humpback whales frequent Niue’s waters between June and September. Only licensed operators can approach whales, otherwise, you must stay at least 200m (656ft) away from whales. It is also prohibited to use jet skis, yacht tenders, kayaks, paddleboards, etc. for whale watching.
Anchoring is restricted to a few select places around Alofi to avoid damaging coral. It’s best to organise anchoring with the Niue Yacht Club who can give you advice.
Note that diving, boating or fishing is allowed on Sundays with the exception of tender runs between yachts and the wharf.
There are a few restrictions to be aware of when it comes to diving from your yacht, which includes the following:
- No anchoring of yacht tenders on the reef
- Ask for permission from Niue’s dive operators to use their sites, available on VHF Channel 14 or called when onshore
- No more than two yacht tenders on any dive mooring at one time
- No yacht tenders can join a dive boat if using dive site mooring
- Spearfishing is prohibited unless with a licensed operator
- There is a no-touch or take policy for diving in Niue.