Equivalent means of compliance
The equivalent means of compliance process allows industry to propose and implement innovative solutions to achieve the required safety outcomes identified in the standards.
What do I need to prove in my application?
You need to prove that your proposed solution is ‘at least as effective' as compliance with the survey requirements or standards that apply to the vessel. This means different things for different standards.
If your application relates to the National Standard for Commercial Vessels, you need to identify the relevant 'required outcomes' and explain how your proposed solution meets those outcomes, as effectively as the ‘deemed to satisfy’ solution.
If your application relates to the Uniform Shipping Laws Code or the Marine Surveyor Accreditation Guidance Manual, you need to explain how your proposed solution meets each requirement of the code or manual to the same level of safety.
Applications for equivalent means of compliance will only be approved where the proposed solution achieves all the relevant required outcomes or requirements to a level of safety that is equivalent to that achieved by the 'deemed to satisfy' solution.
The criteria for issue of an equivalent means of compliance are set out in Marine Order 503 (Certificates of survey – national law) 2018.
What's the difference between an equivalent means of compliance and a specific exemption?
An equivalent means of compliance is an alternative way of achieving a safety outcome. It must be at least as effective as the usual solution of meeting the relevant required outcomes or requirements. You don’t need to justify why an equivalent means of compliance is necessary, just that it’s equivalent.
A specific exemption exempts the vessel from a requirement entirely. This can be subject to conditions. The proposed arrangement must not jeopardise the safety of vessels or people. You need to demonstrate the extraordinary reasons why the vessel cannot comply with the requirement that applies to it.
You cannot apply for an equivalent means of compliance relating to manning.
How do I apply?
To apply for approval of an equivalent means of complying with the vessel design, construction or equipment requirements of the standards mentioned in Marine Order 503 (Certificates of survey – National Law) 2013.
- Complete and submit an equivalent means of compliance application form 649
- Include supporting documentation
- Pay the fees.
If you wish to be exempt from complying with a requirement altogether—for example if you feel the requirement does not improve safety in your case—consider applying for a specific exemption.