Published on Australian Maritime Safety Authority (

You have a domestic commercial vessel—what you need to do to operate it

Before you begin operating your vessel, you must follow our requirements.

The following requirements must be in place, unless you have an exemption:

1. Your vessel

A certificate of survey demonstrates that your vessel meets the specific design, construction, stability and safety equipment standards required for the vessel.

Before you begin operating your vessel, the following requirements must be in place, unless you have an exemption: a unique vessel identifier, which must be displayed on the vessel a certificate of survey a certificate of operation a safety management sy

  1. If you have a new vessel, request a Unique vessel identifier.
    Note that a vessel will automatically be issued a unique identifier if you apply for a certificate of survey, a non-survey approval, a Class C Restricted approval or a specific exemption, or tell us of your intent to build a vessel.
  2. Find an Accredited marine surveyor to conduct a survey inspection unless you are eligible for an exemption.
  3. Apply for a certificate of survey, exemption or other permits.

2. Your vessel operations

To obtain a certificate of operation you must provide details of the vessel used in your operation as well as details of how and where you intend to operate it.

Ship, certificate and book icons; steps are explained below.

  1. Check what exemptions may apply.
  2. Apply for a certificate of operation, permit or exemption.
  3. Prepare a safety management system.

You must also have a safety management system in place, even if the vessel is exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of operation.

3. Your crew

To work on a vessel, you will usually require a current certificate of competency or an exemption allowing you to work. If you would like further information regarding crewing requirements, please see Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements - national law). A registered training organisation (RTO) can also advise you of your training requirements and the best courses to fulfil your needs.

Classroom, paperwork, certification icons; steps explained below.

  1. Contact a registered training organisation and complete the required course.
  2. Sit an examination through the training organisation or AMSA—high complexity qualifications.
  3. Apply for a certificate of competency. Read domestic qualifications.
Last updated: 24 August 2022