Safe manning for vessels

We are responsible for ensuring that all ships are sufficiently and efficiently manned, and that adequate hours of work and rest are managed to minimise fatigue.

The Navigation Act 2012 provides us with the powers to make a manning determination for a regulated Australian vessel.

All self-propelled regulated Australian vessels, except those less than 500 gross tonnage operating within designated port limits, require a safe manning certificate.

If your vessel is less than 500 gross tonnage and operating wholly within port limits, we have made a determination that permits your vessel to operate without a safe manning document.

Read more about vessels less than 500 gross tonnage operating within designated port limits (PDF 361.34 KB).

If your vessel is less than 3000 gross tonnage it may be eligible for separate minimum safe manning documents for near coastal and international operations.

Definition of safe manning

Minimum safe manning is the level of manning that will ensure that a ship is sufficiently, effectively and efficiently manned to provide:

  • safety and security of the ship
  • safe navigation and operations at sea
  • safe operations in port
  • prevention of human injury or loss of life
  • the avoidance of damage to the marine environment and property
  • the welfare and health of seafarers through the avoidance of fatigue.

Seafarer certificates and qualifications

Seafarers may only perform duties on a vessel if they have a certificate which permits them to do so. The duties a certificate permits the holder to perform are listed in Schedule 1 of each of the following marine orders:

If your vessel is less than 80 metres in length and with a total propulsion power of less than 3000 kilowatts and operating solely within the Australian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) it may be manned with seafarers holding near coastal certificates of competency. The duties a near coastal certificate permits the holder to perform are in listed in Schedule 2 of NSCV Part D—Crew competencies (November 2013).

If your regulated Australian vessel is manned with seafarers holding domestic seafarer certificates you must take into consideration that these seafarers may not have completed all of the STCW short courses required for service on the vessel.

Read more about the use of Australian domestic seafarer qualifications on regulated Australian vessels (PDF 230.91 KB).

Apply for, or review an existing, a minimum safe manning document

To apply, complete an Application for a minimum safe manning document form 93 and submit it, with the relevant support documentation, to

Manning assessments for foreign flagged vessels operating in Australian near-coastal waters

We are no longer doing these assessments. Please contact your flag State.


Fees are payable for a minimum safe manning determination for both Australian and foreign flagged vessels.

Manning queries

All manning queries and requests should be addressed to

Related information

Last updated: 

Tuesday 27 September 2022