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Revised Marine Order 504

Risk assessment

A new version of Marine Order 504 is now in effect.

Involving the master and crew in the development and review of the vessel’s risk assessment provides an opportunity for those who are working on the vessel to impart their knowledge and experience into the process, providing for a more robust risk assessment.

From 1 August 2023 this will be mandatory under recent changes to Marine Order 504. 


Guidance on creating and maintaining a risk assessment is available at Risk management in the national system ( 


Have you considered all the risks?

Risk assessment on domestic commercial vessels.

Consult your master and crew in the development of your risk assessments. Ensure your risk assessments are always accessible to your master, crew and marine inspectors.

MO 504 risk assessment infographic
How can you engage with masters and crew?  

How vessel owners choose to engage with masters and crew will depend on a number of factors such as the size of the operation and workforce, multiple vessel locations and the diversity of operations they undertake. 

The following are some examples of how you may choose to engage. You may have other ideas! 

  • Communicate directly with masters and crew about your safety management system and seek their input into the risk assessment. This could for example be by email or during ‘toolbox’ meetings. 
  • Use of workplace health and safety committees where masters and crew elect their peers to canvass and represent their views on risk assessments to management. The outcomes of these meetings should be recorded and provided to masters and crew 
  • Use of internal newsletters where you outline how and when masters and crew can provide input into reviews of risk assessments. 
  • For small vessel operators who may only have one or two crew, you may have a less formal process for reviewing the risk assessment. You could record that you have consulted in your vessel log, recording the time, date, purpose of meeting (e.g. risk assessment review), outcomes and who was there. 


Making your risk assessment available  

Owners have a responsibility to ensure that the risk assessment, including the appropriate crewing determination, is readily available to masters and crew.

You could for example email the risk assessment to masters and crew or keep a copy accessible onboard.

Owners are also required to give a copy of the risk assessment and appropriate crewing document to the National Regulator or a marine inspector upon request. 

Have you considered all the risks?

Risk assessment example

Hazard identification

Risk assessment



The table below contains examples of risks that an operator of a small vessel may identify when undertaking a risk assessment for their vessel operation.

These examples are indicative only, they are not intended to be taken as definitive or applicable for any particular vessel or operation.

Example only




  Controls in place: Yes or No  

  • Person overboard 
  • Drowning 
  • Injury 
  • Exposure to elements 
  • Remain seated while in motion 
  • Three points of contact 
  • Lifejacket always worn  
  • Anti-slip decks 
  • Avoid bad weather 
  • Wear a PLB (registered with AMSA) 
  • Notify emergency contact where going and when due back 
  • Yes
  • Capsize
  • Drowning
  • Injury
  • Exposure to elements
  • Loss of vessel
  • Level flotation
  • Gear secured correctly
  • Adequate power
  • Avoid bad weather
  • Bilge alarm and pump
  • Plugs/bungs
  • Lifejacket worn at all times
  • Yes
Risk assessment example

Review your risk assessment every 12 months and following any incidents.

Download and print Have you considered all the risks. PDF178.41 KB

A risk assessment example.

MO 504 Risk assessment example