Safety management systems
A safety management system (also referred to as an SMS) is a systematic approach to managing safety.
By following established policies, practices and procedures you ensure the safety of vessels and the people on board.
All domestic commercial vessels must have a safety management system (SMS). This system will demonstrate and document how your vessel meets the mandatory general safety duties.
Your vessel’s SMS should be based on a risk assessment of your operations. It should describe how safety, maintenance and operation is managed on your vessel.
Resources to help you develop a safety management system
A safety management system is not just a document—it must be put into practice and be effective.
We provide tools and resources to help you develop and assess the health of your safety management system:
- Guidelines for a safety management system—this guide provides information, checklists and templates that can guide you through developing or revising your own SMS.
- How to develop a safety management system—an online step by step guide through the process of developing your SMS.
- Templates for a safety management system—useful templates are available for you to download.
- Risk management in the national system—a practical guide on identifying hazards, conducting a risk assessment, implementing control measures and reviewing risks as part of your safety management system.
- Emergency procedures flipchart—ideas for developing and writing emergency procedures.
- Crewing guidelines—appropriate crewing must be determined by the owner as a part of their general safety duties and should be documented as a part of the vessels SMS.
- Fishing for safety video—watch this 16 minute video for easy to understand steps, real-world stories and experiences of why an effective SMS is essential.
- Planned maintenance - learn about the importance of maintenance plans and what to include in yours.
Assessing your SMS
You can use the following safety management system tools to assess the health of your safety management system. There are two different tools available. Choose the one appropriate to your vessel:
You may also contact us to help you review and assess your safety management system, or to get information about meeting your general safety duties. We may conduct periodic reviews of your safety management system and operations.
Class 1 to 4 vessels SMS requirements are contained in marine order 504 and in particular, schedules 1 and 2.
The SMS can either be compliant to schedule 1 of marine order 504 or ISM Code part A (Class 1, 2 and 3 vessels only), with the addition of paragraphs 2(3)(d), 7(6)(b) and 7(6)(c) of Schedule 1 of marine order 504.
The owner, operator, master, and crew of each vessel must be involved in developing and reviewing the risk assessment.
Refer to the Bureau of Meteorology guidelines for domestic commercial vessel weather safety.