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Section 3: Survey and inspection process—plan and stability approval

There are approval processes to follow when you are planning and conducting a survey. Make sure you have the right quality management systems in place.

This section sets out the plan and stability approval process for accredited surveyors.

This section must be adhered to if you do not have your own ISO 9001 (or equivalent) Quality Management System (QMS). If you have your own QMS, you are encouraged to build the information contained within this section into your QMS.

Assessing and approving plans

Plans, documents and calculations are to be assessed using an auditable methodology, as described in the Accredited surveyor document approval instruction to surveyors and the outcome of assessment indicated. You must retain plans, documents, calculations and any correspondence from the design phase as a record of compliance and for future reference.

Plans are to be individually stamped to indicate the outcome of the assessment. Stability booklets only need to have the front page stamped, provided the accompanying letter specifies the total number of pages in the assessed stability documentation.

After assessment, a letter must be sent to the applicant that includes:

  • the vessel particulars, UVI, service category and standards used for assessment
  • a list of any generic equivalent solutions, specific exemptions, or equivalent means of compliance which apply
  • a list of plans and documents that have been assessed
  • any conditions or comments made
  • the outcome of the plan / document assessment.

Design phase approval must be conducted in accordance with the requirements of NSAMS 4. The extent and content of the information and plans needed to verify compliance with Marine Order 503 and the applicable standards will be dependent on categorisation, size and type of vessel. The following table of plans is indicative of the kind of plans likely to be required. Some of these plans and information may not be needed for smaller vessels.

Plan name Typical application Description of content
General arrangement plan All vessels
  • Tanks
  • Deck openings
  • Seating
  • Berths
  • Bulkheads
  • Access ways
  • Bulwarks and railings
  • Navigation lights
  • Ventilation openings
  • Ballast
  • Buoyancy material
  • Use of each space
  • Watertight closing appliances
  • Life-saving appliances
  • Vessel dimensions
Construction plans and / or specifications All vessels
  • Transverse and longitudinal sections
  • Bulkheads
  • Decks
  • Superstructure
  • Deckhouses
  • Engine girders
  • Scantlings
  • Material details
  • Fastening / welding / layup details
  • Windows and window frames
Lines plan Vessels with comprehensive stability or subdivision
  • Body plan
  • Sheer plan
  • Draft marks
  • Location of watertight bulkheads and boundaries
Plans or specifications for closing devices All vessels
  • Construction and means for securing watertight or weathertight openings liable to downflooding
Piping schematics All vessels
  • Essential and high risk systems including
    • Bilge
    • Fuel
    • Sanitary
    • Engine exhaust
    • Refrigeration and steam
  • Showing valves
  • Vents
  • Overflows
  • Filling stations
  • Pipe materials
  • Diameters
  • Wall thicknesses
  • Penetrations
Fire protection All vessels of 12.5 metres length and more
  • Type and disposition of fire divisions
  • Fire-extinguishing appliances
  • Location of escapes
Rudder and steering gear plan All vessels
  • Rudder
  • Rudder stock
  • Bearings
  • Coupling
  • Steering gear and alternative method of steering
Shafting plan All vessels
  • Propeller shaft
  • Bearings and couplings
  • Stern tube
  • Propeller brackets
  • Engine and thrust seatings
Construction schedule All vessels
  • Time schedule for building
  • Laminating and welding to determine key milestones for inspections
Electrical schematic 32V and more, or vessels required to fit emergency power arrangements
  • Electrical equipment and wiring
  • Protection devices (overload, low voltage)
  • Emergency power arrangements
Sail plan Sailing vessels
  • Location and size of sails
  • Underwater profile of vessel
Machinery arrangement All vessels
  • Arrangement and function of main and auxiliary machinery (may be incorporated on general arrangement plan)
Fuel tanks Vessels with freestanding fuel tanks
  • Construction
  • Material details
  • Scantlings
  • Baffles
  • Support
  • Filling
  • Venting
  • Drains
  • Access
  • Sounding
Damage control plan Vessels 35 metres and more and passenger vessels 25 metres and more
  • Boundaries of watertight compartments
  • Openings and means for closure
  • Arrangements for correcting list
Fire control plan Vessels 35 metres and more and passenger vessels 25 metres and more
  • Location and type of active and passive fire safety systems on board the vessel
  • Control stations
  • Location of divisions
  • Fire alarms
  • Fire detection and extinguishing systems
  • Fire-extinguishing appliances
  • Access to compartments and decks
  • Ventilating systems
  • Location of international shore connection if fitted
  • Fire suits
  • Breathing apparatus
Emergency plan

Vessels 35 metres and more and passenger vessels 25 metres and more.

On vessels of length less than 50 metres, the damage control, fire and emergency plans may be combined in a single drawing

  • Assembly stations
  • Signals
  • Escape routes
  • Evacuation routes
  • Location of life saving equipment
  • Flares
  • EPIRB
  • Lifebuoys
  • Immersion suits
Intact stability All vessels subject to intact stability criteria
  • Particulars of vessel
  • Information in accordance with NSCV Part C Subsection 6A and 6C
Damaged stability All vessels subject to damaged stability
  • Calculations and information showing the nature of damaged stability criteria and the vessel’s compliance with those criteria in accordance with NSCV Part C Subsection 6B and 6C
Manuals Fast craft
  • Operating, maintenance and training manuals
Failure mode and effect analysis Fast craft
  • Essential machinery and systems

Vessels with CE certification

For a vessel with a service category mentioned in the table below, you may accept CE certification as evidence of compliance for the design and construction of the vessel’s hull, superstructure and appendages.

You are to ensure the CE certification modules provided for the vessel are as specified below, and confirm that the certification provided establishes that the vessel’s hull, superstructure and appendages have been designed and constructed in accordance with the relevant part(s) of the ISO 12215 standard with a design category as specified by NSCV Part C3, table 5.

A survey recommendation for a vessel using CE certification in accordance with this section is to be supported by a copy of CE certification that you have approved.

CE modules required

NSCV class Measured length Minimum CE modules
1E and 1D Less than 7.5 metres B and C
1E and 1D 7.5 metres  to 13 metres  B and D
2E, 2D, 3E and 3D Less than or equal to 13 metres B and C
2C and 3C Less than 7.5 metres  B and C
2C and 3C 7.5 metres  to 13 metres  B and D
3E and 3D Less than or equal to 13 metres  B and C

Description of CE modules

Module Title Description
B EC Type – Examination An EC type-examination certificate for a representative production sample issued by a notified body. This module applies only to the design phase. The manufacturer must supply a further module for the production phase.
C Conformity to type based on internal production control Manufacturer’s declaration for the production phase. This module applies to individual vessels that are part of a class of vessels approved under Module B.
D Conformity to type based on quality assurance of the production process This is equivalent to the quality assurance approach in ISO 9001 (it is unlikely to actually be to ISO 9001) and covers only production. The quality assurance procedure needs to be one approved and monitored by a notified body. This module supplements Module B.

Sister vessels

A vessel which has the same structural arrangement and scantlings as a vessel previously surveyed by an accredited surveyor in accordance with the National Law (referred to as a basis vessel) may, provided there have been no changes to applicable legislation or standards resulting in the design no longer complying, for the purposes of this manual, be designated a sister vessel.

Sister vessels may be categorised as:

Sister for structure

  • A vessel which has identical length, lines, structural arrangement and scantlings as the basis vessel
  • is intended to operate in the same service category
  • has the same (or lesser) design displacement and speed as the basis vessel.

For a vessel that is a sister for structure, your recommendation may be supported by the basis vessel’s approved construction plans as evidence of compliance with the design approval phase.

Sister for structure and machinery

A vessel which meets the requirements to be a sister for structure has identical system arrangement as the basis vessel including:

  • machinery
  • tanks
  • fire systems
  • electrical
  • propulsion
  • piping
  • steering systems.

For a vessel that is a sister for structure and machinery, your recommendation may be supported by the basis vessel’s approved construction plans, piping schematics, fire protection plans, rudder and steering gear plans, shafting plans, tank plans electrical schematics and machinery arrangements as evidence of compliance with the design approval phase.

Sister for structure, machinery, and stability

  • a vessel which qualifies as a sister for structure and machinery
  • has identical survey class(es), including crew / passenger numbers and loading conditions as the basis vessel
  • is shown to be within the specified limits of lightship displacement for sister or near sister vessels as stated in NSCV Part C6C, clause 3.3.5.

For a vessel that is a sister for structure, machinery and stability, your recommendation may be supported by the basis vessel’s approved plans and may use the basis vessel’s approved stability book, provided a lightship comparison report of the basis and sister vessel is documented and attached to the stability book carried on the vessel.

A load cell or weighbridge certificate may be used to verify lightship on small boats.

Last updated: 10 November 2017
Last reviewed: 10 November 2017