Simplifying the vessel survey regime

Following public consultation on options for a future approach to the domestic commercial vessel survey regime, we have released the final Regulation Impact Statement (RIS)—Survey under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessels.

The RIS identifies preferred changes to vessel survey which would see regulations simplified and survey requirements better aligned with risk.

The proposed survey reforms detailed in the RIS include some significant benefits for industry, including aligning survey frequency on an individual vessel basis, greater flexibility to reduce the number of out-of-water surveys required where risks are mitigated through other measures, and allowing surveys to be more easily aligned with other vessel maintenance activities. 

Read the Survey under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety Decision Regulation Impact Statement (PDF 1 MB).

Changes in the RIS

Other changes in the RIS include:

  • an increase in the proportion of the fleet subject to a ‘2 in 5 year’ (medium frequency) survey regime
  • a decrease in the proportion of the fleet subject to ‘5 in 5 year’ (high frequency) survey requirements, with all vessels remaining in annual survey moving to a ‘4 in 5 year’ survey regime
  • clarification that ‘low survey frequency’ vessels are subject to a ‘1 in 5 year’  renewal survey
  • increasing the length limit for the non-survey category from <7.5 metres to <12 metres for eligible vessels
  • from 2020, increasing the length limit at which point a vessel must be built, constructed and maintained in Class from 35m to 45m for eligible vessels
  • permitting eligible vessels <65 metres to move into National System periodic survey provided they have undergone an initial survey and certification by a Classification Society 
  • introducing clear processes for moving vessels from non-survey into survey, and into higher or lower survey levels, depending on the performance of the individual vessel at survey or during compliance activities
  • ensuring that those aspects of the vessel must be inspected at each survey reflect modern technology
  • allowing greater flexibility in survey timing to ensure that other vessel maintenance activities can be aligned with surveys
  • amending the survey ‘modifiers’ (’high risk’ operations and other vessel attributes that change the survey requirements which would otherwise apply to the vessel) in order to remove safety gaps in the current arrangements and better align survey frequency to risk.

The RIS also includes two complementary reforms to be implemented through our existing general exemptions: 

  • Under changes to Exemption 02, more vessels will move into ‘non-survey’. The key change involves increasing the length limit for non-survey from <7.5 metres to <12 metres for some non-survey vessels. 
  • Through Exemption 40, a Restricted C vessel class will be introduced, with reduced survey and design/construction requirements for vessels operating in specified C waters. This occurred in 2015. 

Next steps and consultation

The next step is to capture the changes in Marine Order 503 (Certificates of survey).

The proposed changes to the vessel survey regime arrangements are open for public consultation until 2 May 2018.

Following consultation, new survey arrangements would commence on 1 July 2018.

Last updated: 4 April 2018
Last reviewed: 4 April 2018