How to operate your DCV safely
Domestic commercial vessel (DCV) operations vary widely across Australia. The implications of COVID 19 will be different for everyone.
One-person, short-trip, operations—such as inshore crabbing and net fishing—COVID-19 may not present major risks. For operations involving multiple crew however, the risks may be higher, particularly for long trips.
Read our advice here as well as what we have already published.
You should know what restrictions apply to port access in your state and or territory. The regulations and directions will change as governments adapt to deal with COVID-19.
Some states and territory governments are restricting access to vessels from other states.
Some restrictions apply for travel within a state, such as to remote indigenous communities.
Check WHS regulations in your state
- SafeWork Australia
- Australian Capital Territory WorkSafe
- New South Wales WorkSafe
- Northern Territory WorkSafe
- Queensland WorkSafe
- South Australia WorkSafe
- Tasmania WorkSafe
- Victoria WorkSafe
- Western Australia WorkSafe
Take a risk assessment approach.
This means having control measures for your operation as well as abiding by government health advice. For example: if you are operating a large vessel on a day trip in calm weather: you can comply with social distancing (1.5 metres) by spreading crew apart.
Review the risk assessment of your vessel’s safety management system (SMS).
Your SMS should include the following:
Know the symptoms
Have a look at the Australian Department of Health COVID-19 symptom checker and keep an eye out for each other.
Update pre-departure measures
COVID-19 procedures should be a part of vessel induction and pre-departure briefings.
Your pre-departure and briefing should include:
- Assess crew before boarding to make sure they have no symptoms and are not sick.
- Make sure crew know how to follow the government advice about hand and respiratory hygiene (coughing and sneezing).
- Make sure everyone knows where the hygiene products are located on the vessel (e.g. hand sanitiser, tissues).
- Make sure the crew and passengers use the bins to dispose of tissues.
The Department of Health has the details of social distancing requirements to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Cleaning your vessel
COVID-19 can also spread by people touching shared work objects or surfaces.
These can be:
- bathroom surfaces
These can become contaminated from a cough or sneeze and then you might become infected when you touch them then you touch your mouth or face.
The Department of health has guidance on cleaning and disinfection.
If a crew or passenger displays COVID-19 symptoms:
- isolate the person
- phone the National Coronavirus Helpline (1800 020 080)
- keep contact to a minimum
- give the person their own linen, plates, cutlery etc.
- keep their washing separate from the rest of the crew
- make sure the person wears a surgical mask and gloves
- if you are caring for the person you should wear a surgical mask and gloves
Crew may be considered clear of COVID-19 infection if a vessel has:
- conducted 14 days at sea
- had no contact with other people
- no crew has shown COVID-19 symptoms
The same 14-day protocol is used for crew on international vessels coming into Australian ports.
Make sure you know the latest state and territory port entry requirements.
In some sectors, including some fisheries, you might have social contact with other vessels anchored in the same location.
These interactions should be avoided or conducted with precautions. For example, bring a tender alongside without boarding.
If you make a short port visit to offload catch or take aboard stores, the crew should.
- Try to avoid or minimise contact with other people.
- Return to the vessel immediately after completing the task.
- Wash hands immediately on boarding.
This advice is specific to operations that involve diving.
These are recommended by the Australian Dive Accreditation Scheme.
- Association of Diving Contractors International advice on COVID-19 and sanitization of commercial diving life support equipment.
- International Marine Contractors Association COVID-19 guidance for diving contractors.
It is important that are and feel crew supported during the current crisis.
The following resources can help:
- Sustainable fishing families—managing stress for fishing businesses handbook
- Beyond Blue
- Stay Afloat (Tasmania)
- Smiling Mind
More information from us
We will continue to assist owners, operators, masters and crew of domestic commercial vessels.