A new version of Marine Order 504 comes into effect on 1 August 2023.


Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – national law) outlines safety management system including risk assessment and crewing requirements for domestic commercial vessels (DCVs).  

Recently, Marine Order 504 underwent a review and consultation process which aimed to better align it with a recently revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency), and to clarify and strengthen key concepts relating to operational safety.



What do I need to do? 

Before 1 August 2023, take the time to review and reassess your:

  • Safety management system
  • Crewing determination
  • Risk assessment

You’ll need to ensure your vessel operation is compliant with the revised Marine Order 504 before it enters into force on 1 August 2023.

If you’re not sure where to start, read through the guidance material in this hub.

What has changed?

A summary of these changes is included below. These changes will come into force from 1 August 2023.  

  • Crewing provisions will better align with the certificate of competency arrangements in the revised Marine Order 505 (Certificates of competency) which came into force on 1 January 2023, while the minimum crewing requirements table in Marine Order 504 has been simplified.  
  • Fatigue must be adequately addressed when determining risk-based crewing levels.  
  • Risk assessment (including the appropriate crewing determination) must be accessible to the master, crew and enforcement personnel.  
  • The master and crew (if applicable) must be consulted on the development of the vessel’s risk assessment.  
  • A copy of the vessel’s safety management system must be kept onboard (if practical) and with onshore personnel.  
  • Additional onboard training and drills will become a requirement for emergency procedures which must be addressed in the vessel’s safety management system, and associated record-keeping must be undertaken.  
  • There must be clear and direct reporting pathways for the escalation of issues to the designated person, these must be understood by crew and master and incorporated into the safety management system which must be working as intended.  
  • Lifejacket wear must be addressed in the vessel’s risk assessment and a written procedure must be included in the safety management system.

Marine Order 504 safety message