Compliance approach for domestic commercial vessels

Our compliance approach includes a range of flexible and targeted measures for domestic commercial vessels operators.

From 1 July 2018 we take on full regulatory responsibility for compliance of domestic commercial vessels with the national law.

Our compliance approach balances the need for deterring unlawful behaviour with developing a safety culture. Our focus for 2018–19 is encouraging voluntary compliance and providing support through:

  • education and communication activities
  • timely information and advice
  • collaboration and cooperative assistance.

Over time, our compliance approach and strategy will develop further and respond to changes in the marine industry.

Read the compliance approach 2018–19 policy.

Priorities for 2018–19

Our highest priorities and focus for domestic commercial vessel safety compliance for 2018–19 are:

  • Passenger vessels (class 1) carrying more than 36 passengers
  • Fishing vessels (class 3A, 3B, and 3C)
  • Class 2 vessels engaged in high risk operations.
Our four key priority areas for domestic commercial vessel compliance in 2018–19


Vessel type


Priority 1

Passenger vessels (class 1) carrying more than 36 passengers

  1. Passenger vessels operating in high traffic areas
  2. Class 1A passenger vessels
  3. Class 1B passenger vessels
  4. Class 1C passenger vessels
  5. All other passenger vessels carrying more than 36 people

Fishing vessels (class 3A, 3B and 3C)

  1. Class 3A, 3B or 3C operating dories offshore
  2. Other class 3A fishing vessels
  3. Other class 3B fishing vessels
  4. Other class 3C fishing vessels

Class 2 vessels engaged in high risk operations

  1. Class 2 vessels used to carry bulk petroleum or gas products
  2. Class 2 vessels equipped with a crane or davit exceeding 3 tonne capacity
  3. Class 2 vessels used to operate a pile frame
  4. Barges equipped with dredging machinery having a total brake power of 500 kilowatts or more
  5. Dredges:
  • having a total brake power of 500 kilowatts or more, or
  • over 24 metres

Any vessel subject to an alert requiring inspection


Priority 2

Passenger vessels
(Class 1) carrying up to and including 36 passengers

  1. Class 1A passenger vessels
  2. Class 1B passenger vessels
  3. Class 1C passenger vessels
  4. All other passenger vessels carrying 36 people or less

Class 2 vessels engaged in medium risk operations

  1. Support vessels in the offshore oil industry
  2. Any vessel—propelled or otherwise—used to carry dangerous goods
  3. Landing barges
  4. Tugs or vessels used primarily for towage

Priority 3

Class 2B and 2C vessels more than 7.5 metres in length


Fishing vessels Class 3D and 3E more than 7.5 metres in length


Class 4C hire and drive vessels


Priority 4

All other vessels not covered by priorities 1 to 3


How we handle non-compliance

Where non‑compliance is detected, we use a range of enforcement tools. These increase in severity depending on the circumstances, and are proportionate with the risk identified or the harm caused. Our enforcement tools include:

  • issuing directions, notices, or fines
  • imposing court-issued civil penalties
  • suspension or cancellation of certificates
  • criminal prosecutions.

Related information


Last updated: 

Friday 12 June 2020