Vessel owner or operator

If you own or operate a vessel, there are a number of practicalities you will need to consider, including keeping your vessel and crew trained, safe and compliant.

Vessel owners or operators

Vessel owners and operators must make sure vessels are compliant with Australian standards and regulations. Mandatory safety requirements must be fulfilled and there are certain fees and levies which you must pay.

You must also take care of your crew, making sure they are appropriately qualified to work on your vessel and ensuring their safety while onboard.

Contact your local state or territory authority regarding regulations for recreational boats and yachts.

Transition to a national system

From 1 July 2018, we will become the one point of contact for most services for domestic commercial vessels and crew.

Read more about about the transition to a national system for domestic commercial vessel safety.

Keep your vessel compliant

If you make changes to your vessel—including if you sell or change your vessel's name—you will need to update your vessel's registration. This will make sure that you comply with Australian laws and regulations.

Find out how to keep your vessel compliant.

Regular vessel surveys

You will need to organise an accredited marine surveyor to inspect your vessel on a regular basis to prove you are compliant with Australian legislation and safety requirements.

Find out how to get your vessel surveyed.

Register your ship

Registering your ship on either the General Australian register or the International register will have a number of benefits when you are operating your vessel. Find out whether you should register your ship, and which register it should be on.

Register your ship.

Make sure your crew is qualified

As an owner or operator of a vessel, you have a duty of care towards your crew. It is important that your crew members are trained and qualified to carry out their duties onboard your vessel.

Find out about training and qualifications for seafarers.

Navigation aids

You may need to navigate your vessel through particularly sensitive sea areas, and areas dangerous to the safety of ship navigation. Find out about coastal pilotage services, vessel traffic services and how to navigate through environmentally fragile areas to make sure your vessel traverses Australian waters safely.

Find out about navigating coastal waters in Australia.

Environmental protections in Australia

When you are operating your vessel in Australian waters, there are a number of environmental laws you will be subject to. We implement pollution reporting requirements under MARPOL protocols and have domestic legislation to support its implementation. If your vessel is involved in, or observes an incident of ship sourced pollution, you must report it.

Find out how to report a pollution incident.

Health and safety

When operating your vessel, you have an obligation to ensure the health and safety of everyone onboard your vessel. This includes having the right safety equipment, emergency procedures and ensuring the safety or your crew.

Find out about your health and safety obligations.

Fees and levies

There are a number of fees and levies you will need to pay as an owner or operator of a vessel. Make sure you know which fees you need to pay as these will depend on the size, type and operations of your vessel. You may also need to pay levies which support the maintenance and upkeep of aids to navigation and our response to pollution incidents when they occur.

Find out about fees and levies.

National Standard for Commercial Vessels

The National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) sets standards for vessel design, construction, equipment, operation and crew competencies for domestic commercial vessels.

These standards include medical supplies and tools that you are required to have on your vessel.

Find out about the National Standards for Commercial Vessels.

Last updated: 13 June 2018
Last reviewed: 13 June 2018