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Survey frequency for domestic commercial vessels

From 1 July 2018, new survey requirements for domestic commercial vessels apply. This includes changes to marine order 503 to apply the new periodic survey requirements to all vessels required to be in survey—existing, transitional and new vessels.

From 1 July 2018, the National Standard for the Administration of Marine Safety, Section 4 (Surveys of Vessels) no longer applies to any domestic commercial vessel.

All vessels that are required hold a certificate of survey and are subject to marine order 503 must comply with new survey requirements. This includes existing grandfathered vessels which hold a certificate of survey.

Certain kinds of existing vessels are not required to hold a certificate of survey and are exempt under Exemption 02. These vessels are not required to comply with the new survey regime.

Periodic survey requirements

Vessels subject to marine order 503 are allocated a survey frequency category in accordance with the table in schedule 3 of marine order 503 and replicated in the Marine Surveyor Manual.

Survey frequency categories

Find out if your vessel is a high, medium, or low survey frequency vessel.

  Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
CATEGORY – HIGH            
Class 1
Class 2A/2B extended/2B with passengers
Vessel with steam propulsion/submersible or
wing-in-ground effect craft/novel vessel/high
speed thrill ride vessel
Initial
survey
In water
survey
In water
survey
Out of
water
survey
  Renewal
survey
(in water
and out
of water)
CATEGORY – MEDIUM            
Class 2A/2B extended/2B no passengers
Class 3A/3B extended/3B
Class 2C/3C/4C/4D/4E greater than or equal to
12 metres
Class 2D/2E greater than or equal to 12 metres
with passengers
All vessels with a modifier (high risk operations
or attributes, such as an inboard petrol engine,
being used for towing, carrying dangerous
goods, overnight hire and drive, landing
barges or fast craft)
Initial
survey
    In water
survey
  Renewal
survey
(in water
and out
of water)
CATEGORY – LOW            
Class 2C/3C/4C/4D/4E less than 12 metres
no modifier
Class 2D/2E no passengers, no modifier
Class 2D/2E less than 12 metres with passengers,
no modifier
Class 3D/3E no modifier
Class 2 ferry in chains
Class 2/3 permanently moored vessel
Class 2/3 unpowered barge
Initial
survey
        Renewal
survey
(in water
and out
of water)

All new vessels subject to marine order 503 must undergo an initial survey before being issued with a certificate of survey for the first time.

Some vessels may be required to undertake an initial survey instead of, or as well as a renewal survey where a change listed in schedule 1 of marine order 503  has occurred. Read more in the Guidance material on marine order 503 or the Marine Surveyor Manual.

Who can survey the vessel?

Unless the vessel is built to Class rules it can be surveyed either by:

  • an accredited marine surveyor with accreditation in the relevant category, or
  • a recognised organisation.

Find an accredited marine surveyor in Australia.

See the Marine Surveyor Manual for more information about survey accreditation arrangements.

The survey schedules—what does a survey involve?

Effective 1 July the survey schedules move from National Standard for the Administration of Marine Safety 4 to Part 2 of the Marine Surveyor Manual.

The initial, periodic, and renewal survey processes have not changed significantly. The move from National Standard for the Administration of Marine Safety 4 to the marine surveyor manual means that relevant guidance, instructions to surveyors, and related documents are more easily available in the marine surveyor manual.

The survey schedules have changed. The most significant change is that the National Standard for the Administration of Marine Safety 4 requirement to test, verify/examine/trial items in specific years has been replaced by a general requirement that surveyors test/verify/examine/trial items to the extent necessary to be satisfied that the vessel complies with the applicable legislation and standards.

Other changes made as a result of industry feedback include:

  • clarification of the lightship verification requirements
  • a requirement to inspect permanent ballast as part of a survey.

Survey of vessels built to Class rules

Marine order 503 requires vessels equal to or greater than 35 metres to be constructed to Class rules for construction, machinery, anchoring equipment and electrical installation aspects of the vessel. The National Standard for Commercial Vessels applies to all other aspects of the vessel.

Existing and transitional vessels equal to or greater than 35 metres which were not required to be surveyed by a recognised organisation before 1 July 2013 are not required to meet class rules. Read more about in-survey vessels.

A vessel owner may voluntarily elect for a vessel to be constructed to Class rules for construction, machinery, anchoring equipment, and electrical installation. In that case, the vessel needs to be surveyed by Class for those aspects.

Survey schedule for vessels built to Class rules

This table shows the survey requirements for vessels:

  • are required to meet Class rules, and
  • who elect to meet Class rules.
Table 3

Aspect of vessel

Surveyor

Survey frequency

Construction
Machinery
Anchoring equipment
Electrical installation

Recognised organisation

In accordance with Class rules

All other aspects

Arrangement, accommodation and personal safety, watertight and weathertight integrity, fire safety, engineering—other than machinery and electrical, stability and equipment—other than anchoring equipment

Recognised organisation or accredited marine surveyor

In accordance with table 1 and table 2 above

Vessels that are required to meet class rules must be issued a certificate of classification for the vessel’s construction, machinery, anchoring equipment, and electrical installation.

Design, construction, and equipment standards

A snapshot of the standards that apply to vessels that are less than 35 metre and vessels that are equal to or greater than 35 metres.

Table 4

Vessel type

Vessel length

Less than 35 metres

Equal to or greater than 35 metres

A new commercial vessel

National Standard for Commercial Vessels

Some sections of the USL Code apply while National Standard for Commercial Vessels Section C2: Watertight and weathertight integrity is being completed.

Class rules for construction, machinery, anchoring equipment, and electrical installations.

National Standard for Commercial Vessels for all other aspects of the vessel.

Vessel previously issued a certificate of survey

The standard that applied when the vessel was first issued a certificate of survey—unless a schedule 1 change has occurred. NSCV safety equipment requirements apply.

The standard that applied when the first was first issued a certificate of survey, unless a schedule 1 change has occurred.

Unless the vessel is an existing vessel, class rules will apply to some aspects of the vessel. NSCV safety equipment requirements also apply.

Existing vessel
A vessel that operated as a commercial vessel between 1 July 2011 and 1 July 2013

The standard that applied on 30 June 2013—unless a schedule 1 change has occurred. NSCV safety equipment requirements apply.

The standard that applied on 30 June 2013—unless a schedule 1 change has occurred. NSCV safety equipment requirements also apply.

Class rules may apply to some aspects of the vessel.

Transitional vessel

The standards set out in schedule 2 of Marine Order 503 for the vessel.

The standards set out in schedule 2 of Marine Order 503 for the vessel.

 

Last updated: 

Friday 31 August 2018