Watertight and weathertight integrity for ships visiting Australian ports

We are carrying out ongoing watertight and weathertight integrity inspections during routine port State control throughout 2022-23.

This campaign aims to support foreign-flagged and regulated Australian ships with information to help you avoid water ingress and the associated safety and financial risks.

Find it, fix it, and keep your ship watertight.

Watertight and weathertight deficiencies identified during a port State control inspection often reflect a failure of the planned maintenance program to address watertight and weathertight integrity issues in areas such as:

  • watertight doors
  • cargo hatches and hatchways
  • ballast tanks and cargo hold venting
  • overboard sea water valves.



Watertight and weathertight elements are part of the design of a ship.

Watertightness is required for all openings located below the ship’s waterline, for example, shaft tunnels, ballast tanks, and bow thruster compartments. They must be designed and maintained to prevent ingress and egress of water during continuous submersion.

Weathertightness is required for all other ship components, which must be designed and maintained to prevent water from entering the ship in any sea conditions.

Operators, Masters, and crew should be aware of the importance of watertight and weathertight integrity; and should know which elements of their ship are designed to be watertight or weathertight.

A non-exhaustive list includes hatch covers, hatchways, doors, ballast tanks, valves, vents, air pipes, gaskets and more.

ventilation covers



You should routinely check:

  • the locations of watertight and weathertight components — that they’re closed when they’re meant to be, and their condition.
  • that the ship’s safety management system includes planned maintenance for watertight and weathertight components. 

Guidance on checks.



Watertight and weathertight components should be part of your planned maintenance.

Effective and regular maintenance:

  • reduces the risk of equipment failure; and
  • ensures that components and systems continue to perform their designed function.

Guidance on maintenance.


Further reading