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Guidance for domestic commercial vessels exempt from survey

All domestic commercial vessels are required to meet certain design, construction, stability and equipment standards.

The way in which vessels show they comply with the standards changes depending on whether vessels are in survey or not in survey (non-survey). Owners of non-survey vessels will generally only be required to declare compliance with the relevant standards.

Vessels exempt from survey—non-survey vessels

The Marine Safety (Certificate of survey) Exemption 2018 (Exemption 02) exempts certain vessels from the requirement to obtain a certificate of survey. These vessels are called non-survey vessels. Rather than undergoing a survey, owners of non-survey vessels generally make a declaration that their vessels meet the applicable standards on their application for either:

A summary of vessels that are eligible for non-survey is set out below.

It is important to note that non-survey vessels are still DCVs even though they don’t have surveys. Owners and masters of non-survey vessels are still subject to other National Law obligations, including the general safety duties,   the requirement to implement and maintain a safety management system for the vessel and its operations.

Recent changes to non-survey vessels

A number of changes to Exemption 02 have been made to extend and clarify the kinds of vessels that are eligible to be non-survey vessels.

Class 2, 3 or 4 vessels operating in D or E waters

From 1 July 2018 vessels carrying up to four day-passengers that are less than 12 metres in length, operating only in smooth or partially smooth waters (D or E) and are not high risk, are non-survey vessels which are not required to have a certificate of survey.

Existing vessels

The definition of ‘existing vessel’ under Exemption 02 has been amended to provide greater flexibility around when vessel owners will be required to comply with the standards for ‘new vessels’.

These changes include:

  • a vessel that has been out of service for more than two years (or was out of service for longer than two years before 30 June 2013) may still be classed as an ‘existing vessel’ and therefore comply with the existing vessel provisions in Exemption 02
  • an ‘existing vessel’ that is certificate of survey exempt, which has been modified, altered, or has changed its operation or operational area, may continue to be treated as an ‘existing vessel’. However, these vessels still have to meet certain conditions and obtain approval from AMSA.

Human powered vessels—dragon boats

Dragon boats are a type of human powered vessel. Dragon boats are exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of survey under Exemption 02. Marine Safety (Dragon boats) Exemption 2015 (EX37) has been repealed. Dragon boats must meet the design, construction and equipment standards that apply to it mentioned in National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part G (NSCV Part G), or a standard determined by AMSA.

All Class 1(passenger) human powered vessels are ineligible to be non-survey and must have a certificate of survey.

Personal watercraft with aerial freestyle device

Personal watercraft fitted with an aerial freestyle device used in an aerial freestyle operation are exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of survey under Exemption 02. Marine Safety (Aerial freestyle devices) Exemption 2016 (EX35) has been repealed.

Sporting and recreational activities vessels

From 1 July 2018, certain kinds of vessels used for sporting or recreational activities are exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of survey under Exemption 02. To be exempt, the vessel must be used in sporting and recreational activities, engaged only in inshore operations, and must be affiliated with a body determined by AMSA as having systems in place to manage risks.

Class 2, 3 or 4 vessels ineligible to be non-survey

AMSA considers certain kinds of Class 2 (non-passenger), 3 (fishing) and 4 (hire and drive) vessel are high risk and are ineligible for Exemption 02. . These vessels are detailed in item 2.1 of division 2 of Exemption 02 and are included in the table below.

These vessels are required to have a certificate of survey and meet the applicable survey standards, unless otherwise exempt under another exemption.

Vessels installed with a net reel, crane, lifting device, or deck load

From 1 July 2017 owners of Class 2, 3 or 4 vessels that have a net reel, crane, or lifting device installed on the vessel seeking approval to operate under Division 2 of Exemption 02 must include information regarding the vessels stability with their application for non-survey approval.

Applications made after 1 July 2017 for non-survey approval for vessels that have a net reel, crane, lifting device, or deck load must be accompanied by a recommendation from an accredited marine surveyor. This states the surveyor is satisfied that the net reel, crane, lifting device, or deck load is unlikely to generate a heeling moment that may endanger or capsize the vessel, or create a loading condition that exceeds the maximum loading for the vessel.

Find an accredited marine surveyor.

How do I apply to be a non-survey vessel?

To apply for non-survey you need to:

  1. Complete the Application for approval of a non-survey vessel AMSA form 579,
  2. Provide the evidence required to support the application (which may include documents showing how your vessel complies with the conditions or standards mentioned in Exemption 02, and
  3. Pay any required fees.

Owners of the following vessels are not required to make an application to be a non-survey vessel:

  • existing vessels for which a survey certificate was not required on 30 June 2013 and which meet the criteria and conditions  in Division 5 of Exemption 02
  • human powered vessels including dragon boats
  • sailing vessels that are less than 12 metres long that do not have an auxiliary engine, or if it does have an auxiliary engine—the engine has less than or equal to 3.5 kW propulsion power, or
  • personal watercraft.

All non-survey vessels are required to have a certificate of operation unless otherwise exempt. See Marine Safety (Certificates of operation) Exemption 2018 (EX03) for further details.

Type of vessel

Conditions

Tenders

A tender is a vessel that is used for:

  • up to 12 people or to transport goods or
  • a purpose associated with its parent vessel’s operation and
  • is not powered by a petrol below deck engine and
  • operates
  • in line of sight of its parent vessel (or another distance approved in writing by AMSA) or
    • in a marina or mooring area* and
  • is less than 7.5 metres long (or another length approved in writing by AMSA) and
    • if it has a parent vessel – is no longer than its parent vessel.

 

(*a mooring area is an area outside a marina that is determined under waterways management legislation to be an area for the mooring of vessels.)

 

 

 

Comply with National Standard for Commercial Vessels – Part G – Non-survey vessels

 

Additionally for:

  • tenders – the vessel must be inspected with parent vessel when the parent vessel is surveyed (if the tender has a parent vessel)
  • personal water craft (PWC) – the craft is used for aerial freestyle operations and:
    • carries an air horn
      • the aerial freestyle device hose must be fastened to the bow of the PWC without strain on the hose coupling and
      • the aerial freestyle device must not be modified to enable a person to take full flight control from an instructor.
  • volunteer marine rescue vessels and fire fighting vessels must complete further declaration that the vessel meets the National Standard for Commercial Vessels – Part G – Non-survey vessels.

Sailing vessels

A sailing vessel, other than a Class 1 vessel, that:

  • is <7.5 m long
  • has no auxiliary engine, or an auxiliary engine of ≤3.5 kW propulsion power.

 

Vessels used by a sailing school or training organisation

A vessel that is:

  • <24 m long
  • used by a sailing school or training organisation to train members of the public for recreational boating qualifications
  • engaged only in inshore operations

Recreational / sporting vessels

A recreational/sporting vessel that is:

  • involved in sporting and recreational activities and
  • affiliated with a body determined by AMSA as having systems in place to manage risks
  • engaged only in inshore operations.

Human powered vessels

A human powered vessel that:

  • is propelled by human power or
  • only has an electric propulsion motor of 24 volts or less or a propulsion motor of 3.5 Kw or less propulsion power and
  • is a class 2, 3 or 4 vessel.

Personal water craft

A personal water craft is a vessel that:

  • is less than 4m long, and
  • has an internal combustion engine powering a water-jet pump as its primary source of propulsion and
  • is designed to be operated by at least one person sitting, standing or kneeling on the hull of the vessel.

Volunteer marine rescue vessels

A volunteer marine rescue vessel is a class 2D or 2E vessel which does not carry passengers and is less than 12 metres in length and not exempt under EX40.

Fire fighting vessels

A fire vessel that is a class 2D or 2E vessel which does not carry passengers and is less than 12 metres in length and not exempt under EX40.

Class 2, 3 or 4 vessels

A class 2, 3 or 4 vessel operates only in D or E waters and is less than 12 metres and none of the following apply to the vessel:

  • it carries dangerous goods
  • is operated primarily for towage, or is a support vessel for the offshore oil and gas industry
  • a landing barge which AMSA determines is of a design or use that is likely to affect its stability
  • it has a net reel, crane or deck load installed and an accredited marine surveyor has not provided a recommendation on the vessels stability
  • a high speed thrill ride vessel
  • Class 4 vessel operated overnight
  • is a support vessel in the offshore oil or gas industry
  • is operated primarily for towage
    • has an inboard engine which operates on fuel that has a flashpoint of less than 60 degrees.

The vessel must comply with NSCV Part G Non-survey vessels, or an alternative standard determined for the vessel by AMSA.

Existing vessels

An ‘existing vessel’ that was not required to have a survey certificate on 30 June 2013.

The vessel must meet the:

  • equipment, design and construction requirements that applied to the vessel on 30 June 2013 and
  • safety equipment requirements in NSCV Part G vessels from 1 July 2016 if it is a kind of vessel that, if it were a new vessel, would not be required to have a certificate of survey; and
  • safety equipment requirements in NSCV Part C or F from 1 January 2018 if it is a kind of vessel that, if it were a new vessel, would be required to have a certificate of survey.


Note: Additional conditions and restrictions apply regarding changes to vessel or its operations.

Related information

Note: this page was previously published as guidance notice AMSA 543