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Frequently asked questions about the changes to C7A

Expand these topics to find answers to your questions about the proposed changes to NSCV C7A.

Medical and first aid 

Will vessel owners and operators still be required to carry codeine in the first aid kit?  

  • No. The contents list for first aid kits has been updated. Over-the-counter medicines have replaced codeine, in accordance with a medical consultant’s advice and Therapeutic Goods Association guidelines. 

AMSA’s Generic Equivalent Solution (GES) 2015/01 ‘Carriage of first aid supplies on domestic commercial vessels’ will be incorporated into the proposed changes. Will operators already utilising this GES be required to do anything (i.e update their risk assessment)?  

  • No. If they already using the GES and following WHS code of practice then nothing needs to change. 
Liferaft type

My small vessel does not have level flotation and was required to carry a liferaft by following changes to NSCV C7A in the 2018 changes. Has this changed in the proposed NSCV C7A? 

  • Possibly, there are proposed changes to liferaft carriage standards for <12m vessels without level flotation. The proposed changes allow new options for smaller, lighter liferafts and options for no liferaft/s on some <7.5m vessels that can meet certain additional measures. 
  • The proposals include: 
    • <12m vessels without level flotation option to carry alternate type of liferafts, which are approved by AMSA 
    • <7.5m vessels without level flotation and not operating in ‘hazardous waters’, option to carry no liferaft if everyone on board wears a lifejacket and other equipment such as float free EPIRB are carried.  
Liferaft carriage

My vessel has level flotation and I currently don’t have to have a liferaft. Has this changed in the proposed NSCV C7A? 

  • No, there are no proposed changes to this requirement for vessels with level flotation. 
Liferaft stowage

Have liferaft stowage requirements changed in the draft NSCV C7A? 

  • Yes. This section has been reworded to better describe standards for liferaft securing and installation.
Liferaft capacity during servicing periods

Under the proposed NSCV C7A, if one or more of my vessel’s liferafts are being serviced can I still operate but with less people on board? 

  • Yes. Exemption 06—Marine Safety (Periodic survey, equipment certification and compass adjustment)—allows you to continue operating with sufficient liferafts for the number of people on board. This has been included in the draft new NSCV C7A. 
Lifejacket servicing

Do the proposed changes allow for vessel owners and operators to carry out self-inspection and testing of lifejackets?  

  • The standard for servicing inflatable lifejackets carried on survey vessels to meet NSCV C7A has not changed. Inflatable lifejackets on survey vessels are required to meet a higher servicing standard than those carried on recreational vessels. 
  • Anyone who is trained and certified by the manufacturer of the specific brand of lifejacket can undertake the servicing. This can include owners, operators or crew, etc. 

Who is considered a ‘competent person’ for the purpose of servicing lifejackets? What qualifications do they need to hold?  

  • A ‘competent person’ is a person who is trained and certified by the manufacturer of the lifejacket.  
Lifejacket carriage

Will small vessels in survey operating under 2 nautical miles from shore have to carry additional lifejackets? 

  • The proposed requirement for the carriage of additional lifejackets would apply to small vessels operating under 2 nautical miles from land which only carry inflatable type lifejackets.  

Will vessels with level flotation be exempt from the requirement to carry additional lifejackets? 

  • The proposed requirement for the carriage of additional lifejackets would apply to vessels with any type of flotation, including level flotation. 

Will Class 2 and 3 vessels that do not carry passengers be required to carry infant and child size lifejackets? 

  • We are proposing that class 2 and class 3 vessels carry child and infant-size lifejackets on board only when children or infants are on board. Class 2 and class 3 vessels that never carry children or infants will not be required to carry child or infant-size lifejackets.  

Note: Class 2 and Class 3 vessels can operate recreationally under Marine Safety (Recreational use) Exemption 2020 (No. 2). When operating recreationally they are exempt from crewing and operational area requirements. However, the Exemption is subject to conditions including that the vessel must comply with the local recreational vessel requirements, such as safety equipment. 

Can I still use Exemption 39 (marine safety) – Lifejacket lights under the proposed new NSCV C7A? 

  • Exemption 39 (marine safety) – Lifejacket lights will continue to be in effect until it expires in 2025. After Exemption 39 expires, operators will be required to comply with NSCV C7A. 
Buoyant appliances

Under the proposed new NSCV C7A, will Class 1E vessels be required to carry buoyant appliances for 40% or 100% of the total number of people the vessel is licenced to carry? 

  • Under the proposed NSCV C7A you will be able to carry safety equipment for 40% of the total number of people the vessel is certified to carry, unless the vessel has a higher flooding risk. Vessels with a higher flooding risk will be required to carry safety equipment for 100% of the total number of people the vessel is certified to carry.

Under the proposed requirements can I carry safety equipment for the exact number of people on board at any given time, or do I have to continue carrying the prescribed safety equipment for the total number of people the vessel is licensed to carry (vessel complement)? 

  • No. You will continue to carry the prescribed safety equipment for the total number of people the vessel is certified to carry.  

Do I still have to carry safety equipment to meet the highest service category my vessel is surveyed for, or can I just carry the safety equipment relevant to the waters I am operating in on the day? 

  • NSCV Part B clause 2.6 requires vessels with multiple service categories to meet the equipment standards for the highest service category. This has not changed as part of the NSCV C7A review. 

What will the changes cost operators?  

  • The costing analysis conducted by the Office of Impact Analysis found that the proposed changes present an overall net saving for industry of approximately $250,000 each year for the next 10 years.

The regulatory costing PDF1.75 MB provides more detail. 

Will the new NSCV C7A apply to operators of grandfathered vessels?  

  • Since 1 January 2018 owners of Class 1, 2, 3 and 4 domestic commercial vessels that are ‘existing vessels’ have been required to start upgrading to contemporary safety equipment standards, as outlined in the current version of NSCV C7A.  

    These changes supported our commitment to gradually apply modern safety equipment standards to pre-National System vessels. The current arrangements have been implemented through the following standards: 

    • Class 1, 2 and 3 vessels—new safety equipment requirements in Annex I of NSCV Part C7A. 
    • Class 4 vessels—new leisure craft requirements in NSCV Part F2. 
    • Fast craft—new requirements in NSCV Part F1. 

To minimise costs for operators, some safety equipment was allowed to meet the NSCV requirements ‘on acquiring or replacement’. In addition, some standards only apply ‘on replacement’—such as a lifejacket type and standard.  

Under the proposed changes existing vessels that have not yet ‘replaced’ their safety equipment and are not yet meeting the current standards of NSCV C7A will have 2 years from commencement of edition 4 of C7A to comply with the modern standards for lifejackets, liferafts, life buoys and rescue boats.