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Tender, dory and auxiliary vessels

Find out about the special arrangements for vessels which meet the definition of ‘tender’ under the national law.

Tenders are small vessels used to transport people or goods between a vessel and the shore, or for a purpose associated with a parent vessel. They are also sometimes known as auxiliaries or dories.

The national law applies to vessels used for a commercial purpose, including tenders. There are special arrangements for vessels which meet the definition of ‘tender’ under the national law.  

Is it a tender?

To determine if the vessel is a tender under the national law, the vessel must:

  1. Be used to transport goods or up to 12 people, or for a purpose associated with the parent vessel’s operation.
  2. Operate in line of sight of its parent vessel, or another distance approved in writing by AMSA, or in a marina or mooring area.
  3. Measure less than 7.5 metres or another length approved in writing by AMSA.
  4. Measure less than its parent vessel.
  5. Not be powered by an inboard petrol engine.

Sometimes a vessel is called a tender by its owner, but if it doesn’t meet the above criteria it cannot access these special arrangements. However, other exemptions may apply.

Special arrangements for tenders

Different arrangements apply depending on whether the tender entered the national system before or after 1 July 2013.

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Marina tenders

Tenders operating in a marina or mooring area that are not connected to a parent vessel (sometimes known as an ‘auxiliaries’), are mostly subject to the same requirements as other tenders. However, these tenders must be covered by a certificate of operation unless they are otherwise eligible for a certificate of operation exemption under another part of Exemption 3.  

For example they may be exempt if they are:

  • class 2 and 3 vessels less than 7.5 metres in length, operate only in sheltered waters and do not carry passengers, or
  • human powered.

As these tenders are not connected to a parent vessel, they must have their own safety management system.

Crewing and certificate of competency—low complexity duties

Exemption 38 allows crew to operate vessels, in certain circumstances, without the certificate of competency that would otherwise be required. 

The Exemption 38 conditions for tenders operating in marina or mooring areas are different to those for other tenders. 

Read more about Exemption 38 and low-complexity certificates of competency.

Last updated: 

Monday 2 December 2019