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Exemption 2—Marine Safety (Certificates of survey)

This exemption is for owners of certain vessels who may not want to obtain a certificate of survey, or comply with certain conditions on a certificate of survey.

All domestic commercial vessels are required to have a certificate of survey unless exempt.   

What this exemption will allow you to do

Exemption 02 exempts certain kinds of vessels from the requirement to have a certificate of survey, provided vessels comply with the conditions set out in Schedule 1 of this exemption.

Eligible vessels include some types of: 

  • tenders (including auxiliaries) 
  • vessels operating in sheltered waters (less than 12 metres long)
  • sailing vessels
  • human powered vessels
  • personal watercraft
  • volunteer marine rescue vessels
  • fire service vessels
  • vessels that weren’t required to have a certificate of survey on 30 June 2013

You do not need approval for this exemption if your vessel is: 

  • a human powered vessel mentioned in item 2.3 of Schedule 1 
  • a sailing vessel mentioned in item 2.4 of Schedule 1 
  • a personal watercraft (PWC)—whether or not the PWC has an aerial freestyle device attached
  • an existing (grandfathered) vessel not required to have a certificate of survey on 30 June 2013.

You will need approval from us to use this exemption for all other vessels mentioned in Schedule 1. 

You must:

  • apply to us for an exemption approval using Application for non-survey vessel (AMSA 579) 
  • submit your application with the prescribed fee and
  • once approved, notify us of any changes relevant to the approval such as:
    • transfer of ownership 
    • change of name and address of the owner 
    • any alterations to the vessel or changes to the vessel’s operation that may invalidate the vessel’s approval or ability to operate under this exemption.

Exemption for heritage vessels

A heritage vessel must have a certificate of survey unless it is an existing vessel that was not required to have a certificate of survey on 30 June 2013. This exemption may allow a heritage vessel to be exempt from some requirements mentioned in Marine Order 503 (Certificates of survey – national law) including:

  • survey inspection standards mentioned in section 5
  • vessel and equipment standards mentioned in sections 7 and 8 
  • criteria for issue of a certificate mentioned in subsection 9(1)
  • standards that apply to the vessel in the National Standard for Commercial Vessel mentioned in paragraphs 9(2)(a)
  • conditions on certificates mentioned 11(1)(a) and 11(1)(f).

Approvals are subject to the following conditions:

  • you provide us with a vessel management plan 
  • you maintain and operate your vessel in accordance with the vessel management plan 
  • any changes made relating to your vessel management plan must be approved by us.

Legislation and incorporated material

Related information


Last updated: 27 February 2023