Safe access to moored domestic commercial vessels

It is the responsibility of the master of the vessel to ensure safety for people boarding a moored vessel.

It is important that all reasonable and practical safety measures be in place for safe access to protect workers and others from injury. It is the responsibility of the master of the vessel to ensure that people boarding and embarking a moored vessel can do so safely.

Risks to consider

Some of the risks to consider include:

  • variations in wharf height
  • tidal conditions, particularly in areas with large tidal ranges
  • movement of the vessel due to waves, wind or currents
  • platform or gangplank surfaces and the type of rigging needed.

Managing the risks

You can manage the risk of falls and injury on your vessel by:

  • ensuring your vessel’s safety management system addresses safe access for workers and others boarding your vessel when moored
  • conducting and reviewing safety inductions for all workers and visitors so they are aware of the restrictions for entering or exiting the vessel
  • ensuring crew are clear about what they need to do—if there is no safe access, do not proceed (report any issues related to safe access)
  • limiting movement of workers during adverse weather conditions
  • providing well lit areas for safe access at night
  • placing platforms or gangplanks firmly and clear of the wharf edge or other potential hazards.

Further information for masters

Masters should refer to the links below for more information about their responsibilities under the law.

Related information


Last updated: 

Monday 6 July 2020