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Dawson & Associates Ltd - Dawson & Associates, maritime and fisheries law specialists, Nelson New Zealand

Legal Advice

Maritime and fisheries law is complex.

The team at Dawson and Associates has an in-depth understanding of the complexities of maritime and fisheries law and provide cost effective and practical advice in the following areas:


Boat/vessel registration

We have extensive experience in vessel registration and choice of flag, including superyacht ownership and registration.  We work regularly with international ships registers, surveyors and class societies on purchase and flagging of commercial and pleasure vessels ranging from 10m up to SOLAS vessels. 

The areas we provide advice on include:

  • Sale and purchase contracts including NSF, MBYA and others
  • Ownership and chartering structures
  • Classification society requirements
  • Choice of flag
  • Importing and exporting boats to and from New Zealand and elsewhere
  • Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) implementation
  • Vessel finance and mortgage registration


Maritime contracts

We draft and advise on a wide range of maritime contracts and have an extensive precedent base.  We have online access to the BIMCO and we advise on, amongst others:

  • BIMCO documents (Saleform, Barecon, Supplytime, Towcon, Bargehire etc)
  • Catching, processing and commercial fishing agreements
  • Charter party agreements (Bareboat, Time, MYBA)
  • Joint venture arrangements
  • Sale and purchase agreements, including SALEFORM, MYBA, and bespoke contracts
  • Ship and yacht building contracts
  • Superyacht operation, including crew agreements and management
  • Towage contracts (lump sum and daily hire)
  • Vessel agency 


Business management, structuring and governance

We advise clients on business management and appropriate structuring of their operations.  Our work includes:

  • Company and business formation
  • Structuring of ship owning and management companies
  • Joint venturing
  • High Seas access rights and structures
  • Regional fisheries management and assistance with negotiating access into overseas fisheries
  • Quota and ACE transactions, including overseas investment and aggregation issues
  • Maritime health and safety
  • Assisting with Maritime Transport Operator Plans (MTOP)
  • Auditing your company and vessel documentation, and providing advice under the HSWA


Employment of crew

We represent owners and crew across a wide range of employment issues.  We manage mediation and litigation in the Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court.  Our work includes:

  • Drafting master and seafarer employment agreements (SEA’s) and independent contractor agreements
  • Advice on employment disputes
  • Advice on the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC)
  • Immigration issues - assistance in ensuring your crew are lawfully entitled to work in New Zealand 


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