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Overview of the new survey regime

All domestic commercial vessels are required to have a national law certificate of survey—unless an exemption applies. The new survey requirements for domestic commercial vessels start on 1 July 2018.

The survey regime changes are designed to better align survey requirements with risk, so that safety is maintained but compliance costs are reduced. The new survey scheme introduces changes to the previous survey requirements by:

  • expanding the non-survey category (Exemption 02)
  • expanding the Restricted C category (Exemption 40)
  • reducing survey requirements a for vessels in survey (Marine Order 503)
  • changing the requirements for unpowered barges (Exemption 41).

Where does my vessel fit?

The new survey regime for domestic commercial vessels.

See where your vessel fits in the new regime with vessel design, construction, equipment, and survey requirements.

Service category

Vessel length

Less than 12 metres

Equal to or greater than 12 metres

Class 1

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

All Class 2A, 2B extended, 2B, 2C

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

Class 2C Restricted

No modifier

Exemption 40

Marine Order 503

All Class 2D and 2E with 5 or more passengers

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

Class 2D and 2E with 4 or fewer passengers

No modifier

Exemption 02

Marine Order 503

All Class 3A, 3B extended, 3B, 3C

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

Class 3C Restricted

No modifier

Exemption 40

Marine Order 503

Class 3D and 3E

No modifier

Exemption 02

Marine Order 503

Class 4C

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

Class 4D and 4E

No modifier

Exemption 02

Marine Order 503

Vessels with a modifier

Marine Order 503

Marine Order 503

Permanently moored vessel

(all classes, no berthed persons)

Exemption 41

Exemption 41

 

Existing vessels that:

  • were not required to hold a certificate of survey on 30 June 2013, and
  • do not change operations, their area of operations or modify the vessel

are subject to Division 5 of Exemption 02. These vessels are not listed in the table above.

How does my vessel transition to the new arrangements?

Vessels which are newly eligible for Exemption 40 or Exemption 02 need to apply to move into these arrangements. Read more about Exemption 40 and Exemption 02.

Vessels subject to Marine Order 503 will automatically move to the new survey regime, and operators will be sent new survey schedules for their vessels, based on the new requirements. Read more about the new survey schedules

Heritage vessels and emergency services vessels

Heritage vessels and emergency services vessels—including volunteer marine rescue, fire service, and water police vessels—fall within the requirements in the above table for the vessel’s service category and length.

Exemption 02 and Exemption 24 modify the operation of these survey requirements and for heritage vessels also modify the vessel’s design, construction, and equipment standards.

See the Exemption 24 Guidance Notice for more information on emergency service vessel requirements.

Benefits of the new survey regime

The Regulation Impact Statement found that the changes would provide $143.5 million in quantified net benefits over a 10-year period. This figure did not include a number of complementary changes to Exemption 40 and Marine Order 507. It also did not include numerous unquantified benefits, such as:

  • the ability to adjust survey requirements on an individual vessel basis
  • providing greater flexibility in survey timing to allow surveys to be more easily aligned with other vessel maintenance activities.

Background to the changes and the Streamlining Review

A Streamlining Review of the national system was undertaken in 2014 with agreement from National Transport Ministers. This review recognised that the national system was an amalgamation of the eight previous state, Northern Territory, and Commonwealth regimes and needed to be reviewed to ensure that the regulatory arrangements were efficient and effective and were achieving safety and economic returns.

The Streamlining Review found that there was strong support from stakeholders for the proposed changes to survey.

The proposed changes were then subject to a process of data analysis, risk analysis, technical expert input, and consultation. The process included the development of a Regulation Impact Statement on the proposed changes.

The new survey schedules and requirements were then implemented through Marine Order 503, Exemption 02, and the Marine Surveyor Manual. Complementary changes were made to Marine Order 507, Exemption 40, and Exemption 41.

Last Updated: 

6 July 2018