Exemption 4—Marine Safety (Recreational use)

Domestic commercial vessels being used for recreational purposes are exempt from compliance with the crewing requirements and operational area limitations that usually apply when the vessel is operated for commercial, governmental, or research purposes.

While operating under Exemption 04 you must: 

  • only use the vessel for recreational use, and not use it recreationally  at the same time it is being used in  connection with a commercial, governmental or research activity
  • comply with maximum load and passenger restrictions
  • comply with local recreational vessel requirements, except those requiring the vessel to be registered as a recreational vessel or to meet Australian Builder’s Plate requirements
  • deal with the risks of operating recreationally in the safety management system
  • secure or isolate any powered equipment, lifting equipment or other machinery that could pose a danger to passengers
  • record any recreational use in the log book.

You do not need to make an application to us for Exemption 04. Approval is no longer required to operate under Exemption 04—however existing approvals remain valid. 

Exemption 04 does not make your vessel a recreational vessel. Domestic commercial vessel requirements other than crewing and operational area continue to apply.

Chartering a vessel 

If someone charters a boat to you and you use it recreationally, Exemption 4 does not apply, because the owner is operating it commercially. However, if the owner uses it themselves recreationally—for example to take friends fishing—the owner may be able to operate under Exemption 04.

Relocating a vessel

Exemption 04 cannot be used to take a domestic commercial vessel overseas, or to relocate a domestic commercial vessel.

To operate outside the scope of a certificate or to operate temporarily without a certificate, you can apply to us for Exemption 7 by completing an Exemption application for temporary operations form 777.

Last Updated: 

31 July 2019