How marine orders are created

Find out what marine orders are, why they exist and how they are written.

Marine orders are regulations made under Commonwealth legislation.

Marine orders contain the detailed requirements and processes ensuring legislation keeps up to date with technical and operational advances in maritime safety and environment protection. They also put international and national maritime standards into effect.

We have two series of marine orders:

  • marine orders 1–98 generally give effect to international obligations and standards and apply to regulated Australian vessels, foreign vessels, and some domestic commercial vessels.
  • marine orders 500–507 apply to domestic commercial vessels.

Marine orders are made under the:

How the legislation affects the marine order

The legislation sets out broad objectives, key certification requirements, compliance and enforcement powers, and administrative matters, and describes the major offences and penalties. The marine orders contain detailed technical requirements and cover a wide range of matters, including:

  • vessel survey, construction, equipment, and design
  • vessel operations and crewing
  • navigational safety
  • communications
  • cargo operations
  • coastal pilotage
  • crew working and living conditions
  • qualifications
  • international shipping register requirements
  • prevention of pollution, including control of harmful anti-fouling systems.

How we develop, review and amend marine orders

The development process covers the following steps:

  • Issues are identified
  • Initial consideration, examination of alternative options and potential impacts, discussion with potential stakeholders.
  • Preparation of a draft marine order and preliminary regulatory impact analysis, in accordance with the rules applied by the Office of Impact Analysis (OIA).
  • Public consultation and comment on the draft marine order and the regulatory impact analysis.
  • Consultation comments considered and appropriate revisions made.
  • Our Chief Executive Officer signs the marine order.
  • Publish and register the marine order and explanatory material on the Federal Register of Legislation.
  • Marine order comes into force.
  • Ongoing monitoring and review to ensure currency.

The development process includes flexibility for amendments. We follow the Australian Government’s Guide to Regulation and consult the OIA throughout the process. A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) might be prepared based on advice from the OIA and the preparation of a RIS is mandatory if there is potential for a significant regulatory impact on Australian business.


We are committed to constructive consultation with our stakeholders—in government, industry and the community.

When creating or changing a marine order, we have a range of consultation strategies and consultative committees for engaging with stakeholders.

We invite comments from peak industry bodies, marine safety authorities, other recognised organisations, shipping companies and unions.

Consultation periods are generally for four weeks. For significant, complex or major issues, we may allow longer periods of consultation and further public consultation may occur. 

Registration and publication of marine orders

After our Chief Executive Officer signs the marine order, we register it on the Federal Register of Legislation. Registration must occur for a marine order to take effect.

Annual regulatory plan

AMSA publishes regulatory plans to provide business and the community with information about planned changes to regulatory instruments to make it easier for them to be involved in their development.

Related information

Last updated: 12 February 2024