Certificates of operation
All domestic commercial vessels are required to have a certificate of operation—unless they are exempt.
A certificate of operation sets out the conditions under which a domestic commercial vessel—or fleet of vessels—must operate, including:
- the vessels used in the operation
- how and where the vessels can operate
- other conditions AMSA considers necessary due to the nature of either a vessel or an operation.
It is a condition of the certificate of operation that the vessel must have a safety management system that complies with the requirements in marine order 504.
We may check that you are meeting the conditions of your certificate of operation at any time. If we believe that you are not meeting the conditions of your certificate of operation we may suspend or revoke your certificate.
Apply, renew, vary, suspend or revoke a certificate of operation
To apply for a new certificate of operation, or to renew an existing certificate, you will need to submit the application for a certificate of operation for a domestic commercial vessel form 504.
If you would like to renew your current certificate of operation, can provide a copy of the current certificate, and do not want to make any changes, you can submit an application to renew a certificate of operation form 553.
To vary a certificate of operation you will need to submit the application to vary a certificate of operation form 549.
To suspend or revoke a certificate of operation you will need to submit the application to suspend or revoke a certificate or approval form 600.
Recent changes mean you may now be exempt from having a certificate of operation. Please check Exemption 03 Marine Safety (Certificates of operation) 2018 before applying to renew your certificate.
If you are unsure if you are eligible for this exemption, please contact AMSA Connect.
Changes to vessel owners
You must let us know within 14 days if you sell your domestic commercial vessel or transfer the certificate.
Certificates of operation cannot be transferred between operations.
You must notify us within 14 days after your vessel is modified, sunk or scrapped.
Can I request a replacement certificate?
If you require a copy of your certificate please complete and submit the AMSA758 form or email AMSAConnect@amsa.gov.au with the details of your request. We will send you a payment advice once your request has been received.
Vessels used for certain kinds of operations may be exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of operation, or from certain conditions on a certificate of operation.
Details about the types of operations that may be exempt are contained in:
- Exemption 03—Marine Safety (Certificates of operation) Exemption
- Exemption 04—Marine Safety (Recreational use) Exemption
- Exemption 07—Marine Safety (Temporary operations) Exemption
- Exemption 24—Marine Safety (Emergency services vessels) Exemption
- Exemption 41—Marine Safety (Unpowered barges) Exemption
Rules about certificates of operation
The rules about certificates of operation are contained in:
- Schedule 1 of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessels) National Law Act 2012
- Marine Order 504 (Certificates of operation and operation requirements – national law)
Grandfathering—operational safety requirements
A grandfathered vessel :
- an existing vessel—not a new vessel
- not a foreign vessel
- was entitled to operate the vessel for a commercial, governmental or research activity within the two years ending on 30 June 2013.
All existing vessels will still be required to obtain a certificate of operation, unless exempt.
Crewing grandfathered vessels
An existing vessel may operate with the crewing requirements that applied to the vessel on 30 June 2013, but must otherwise comply with the current operational requirements in Marine Order 504.
Modifying grandfathered vessels
We may decide that an existing vessel is new if:
- you have altered or modified the vessel
- its operation or area of operation have changed so that there is an increased level of risk.
We may also determine a vessel is a new vessel upon application by the owner of an existing vessel.
If the vessel is considered to be a new vessel it will need to meet all the current national law requirements.