Domestic commercial vessel inspections

We inspect domestic commercial vessels to ensure crew, vessel, and operational safety.

Marine inspectors perform inspections on behalf of AMSA—both planned and unscheduled. They will conduct an inspection of the vessel under the National Law, and as to whether the vessel appears to ensure safety of persons, the vessel and the environment.

Before an inspection

When your vessel is inspected, we request that you have:

  • provided a gangway or safe means of access that allows 3 points of contact while boarding and disembarking
  • a safety management system available which you can show is correctly implemented on your vessel
  • all relevant documentation readily available, including your certificate of operation and survey, crew certification and any exemptions relevant to your vessel
  • firefighting, lifesaving and on-board equipment is checked and is working, and if not, marked appropriately and have plans in place to repair/replace the equipment.

During an inspection

The marine safety inspector aims to complete the inspection in a timely manner with minimal disruption to your operation as can reasonably be expected

Before the start of an inspection, the marine safety inspector will give you a letter (PDF 139.53 KB) indicating that your vessel will be inspected. They will also clearly explain the scope of the inspection and any equipment that may need to be operationally tested.

While on your vessel, they will check for compliance against legislated requirements and may use an inspection checklist (PDF 575.39 KB) to inspect areas or items such as documentation and certificates, your safety management system, safety equipment and the overall condition of the vessel. 

During the inspection, marine safety inspectors may take notes, photographs or videos as necessary.

After the inspection

When the inspection is complete, you will be provided with an Inspection Report form 756 (PDF 355.98 KB).  The inspector may provide this report at the time of inspection or may send you a copy within 3 business days. The inspection report is a record of the inspection containing details of the inspection findings and recommendations.

If non-compliance was found during inspection, the marine safety inspector may use a range of actions to address them. These actions may increase in severity depending on the circumstances, and are proportionate with the associated risk identified. 

These actions include:

  • engagement and education
  • advice and warnings
  • direction notices
  • improvement notices
  • prohibition notices
  • detention

To ensure the consistency, transparency, accountability, impartiality and fairness in decision-making, all decisions and the reasoning behind these decisions will be explained at the end of the inspection.

If you have feedback or concerns relating to the conduct of an inspection, the letter given at the start of the inspection provides information on how to contact AMSA.

Last updated: 

Monday 28 August 2023