WAFIC believes every professional fisher has a right to operate in as safe a workplace as possible given the inherent nature of working at sea in unpredictable  weather conditions.

This is why we have established a dedicated Safety and Training page on our website.

Why have we located ‘Safety and Training’ under the Resource Access section? Well, if fishing vessels cannot go to sea, fishermen cannot ‘access the resource’. There are many marine safety and workplace safety reasons why vessels may not be able to go to sea:

  • Vessels may not meet government marine safety regulations and authorities stop vessels for going to sea;
  • Skippers and crew may not be properly qualified to work your vessel;
  • Workplace health and safety arrangements are inadequate and authorities have shut down your fishing operation.

This section of the WAFIC website is designed to direct you to:

  • The current government regulations for marine safety;
  • The current government regulations for workplace safety (Note: Workplace safety comes under separate legislation to marine safety in WA – see below);
  • Important matters on upcoming changes to safety and training that may impact your fishing or aquaculture business;
  • Latest news in safety and training affecting the fishing and aquaculture industry.

Marine Safety – relates to vessel construction, vessel survey specifications, skippers tickets, engineers tickets, life-saving equipment, radios, navigation, safety management systems, vessel operating limitations and emergency procedures.

Workplace Safety – relates to how the owner, skipper and crew of any vessel manage health and safety in the workplace including safety management systems, training, on-board safety drills and emergency procedures. (Note: A fishing vessel is regarded as a ‘workplace’)

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Photo: Corrina Ridgway

The cost of safety and training can represent a significant investment for fishing or aquaculture operations but failure to plan ahead and manage safety-at-sea can have an even greater impact on your crew’s well-being or even their life.

It is important that the commercial fishing and aquaculture industry understands:

  • how to access information on the marine safety and workplace safety rules relevant to an individual or a vessel;
  • how industry can provide input to make sure the rules, and any proposed changes, are practical to implement; and,
  • the processes used by government to introduce or change the marine and workplace safety rules.


AMSA Extends Consultation Period on Mandatory Float-Free EPIRBs

AMSA has extended public consultation on proposed changes to introduce the carriage of float-free emergency position-indication radio beacons (EPRIBs) on certain kinds of domestic commercial vessels (DCVs).

Prior to the close of the initial consultation (12/12/17), AMSA received feedback that some industry stakeholders were not aware of the proposed changes to the EPIRB requirements, or needed further time to provide feedback.

Consultation will now close 2nd February 2018.

The original proposal from AMSA was to introduce the requirement from 1st January 2019.

WAFIC’s initial submission supported the introduction of float-free EPIRBs but recommended that the changeover be delayed for any vessel until the expiry date of an existing EPIRBs where this is after 1st January 2019.

AMSA has decided (based on feedback received in the initial consultation period) to make the following changes to the proposal:

·       Class 4C vessels are now included in the proposed amendments.

·       The commencement date change to 1 April 2018, with a 12 month transitional period – meaning that by 1 April 2019, all affected vessels will need to carry a float-free EPIRB. 

  • AMSA also proposes to clarify that inflatable coastal life rafts required to carry an EPIRB under NSCV Part C7A only need to carry a manually activated EPIRB.

AMSA advise that the new proposed commencement date of 1 April 2018 will provide adequate time to make any changes necessitated by feedback received during external consultation and provide industry with the revised regulations and guidance material well ahead of 1 April 2018.

Notwithstanding the new proposed commencement date, AMSA still considers that a 12 month transitional period following commencement is appropriate to give industry time to comply with the new EPIRB requirements.

Updated consultation documents are published on the AMSA Facebook page and in the AMSA E-news.

Please provide your feedback using our online consultation tool or via email to consultation@amsa.gov.aU

Joint Government Funding for New Marine Safety Management System

In response to industry feedback on the 2016 levy proposals for managing the national marine safety system, the State and Federal government Transport Ministers agreed in early December to provide more than $102.4 million to support industry’s transition to the new service delivery arrangements by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority commencing on 1st July 2018.

State and Federal Transport Ministers agreed to use the $102.4 million to allow time for AMSA and industry to gradually adjust to the change to the national system, rationalize the activities to be delivered by government and phase in recovery of the costs of AMSA management.

It is expected that the government funding will provide transition support over the next 10 years. It is anticipated the industry will be at 80% cost recovery at the end of that period.

AMSA has announced that for the first year of the new service arrangements (ie from 1st July 2018) – no levy will be charged to industry.

Financial YearGovernment % Subsidy rateIndustry % payment of levy

The transition funding will allow AMSA to work with it’s industry advisory committees (including WAFIC) to settle on a cost recovery levy model in expectation of providing a levy model and fee structure to the broader industry in early 2018.

‘This level of cross-government support recognises the importance of the marine industry to Australia for transporting passengers, servicing industries such as oil and gas or providing seafood for the consuming public’, said WAFIC, Chief Executive Officer, John Harrison.

‘The introduction of any new national management approach takes time to bed down and the government funding support will allow industry and AMSA to work together over the next three-five years to settle on the necessary services required and to generate the most cost effective delivery of those services.’

WAFIC looks forward to considering the finer details of the government funding announcement and levy phase-in arrangements through whole-of-industry discussions with AMSA in future months.

‘The fishing industry is also wanting to work on the promised incentive components of the new management approach especially rewarding fishing vessel operators with good safety histories with reductions in frequency of prescribed survey and equipment surveys and the associated costs’, said Mr Harrison.

‘It is essential throughout the next 10 years that industry is properly consulted and engaged in the design and rollout of the new National System and the flow on levy is not a cost burden on industry,’ said Mr Harrison.

From 1st July 2018, services for WA fishing vessels and crew will be delivered directly by AMSA instead of the WA Department of Transport.

The State and Federal governments agreed in 2012 to establish a national system to make the delivery of marine safety services more cost effective and harmonised.

It is expected that fees for vessel services will be the same in all Australian states and territories. Better guidance material and monitoring/enforcement services will focus on providing support to operators who want to do the right thing and taking appropriate action against operators who continue to ignore the rules.

AMSA will be providing information to all customers and stakeholders and ongoing advice and updates regarding these changes. Click here

To read the State and Federal Governments’ announcement Click here Transport and Infrastructure Council’s decision.



COMMENTS CLOSE: 12 December 2017

Purpose:  AMSA has opened public consultation on proposed changes to the National Standard for Commercial Vessel (NSCV) and other instruments to mandate the carriage of float-free emergency position-indication radio beacons (EPRIBs) on certain kinds of domestic commercial vessels (DCVs).

Who needs to know about these proposed changes?

Stakeholders who own or operate a Class 1, 2 or 3 fishing vessels that:

  • Operate beyond 2 nautical miles from coast.
  • Are required to have a certificate of survey;
  • Are exempt from the requirement to have a certificate of survey; and,
  • Are existing (‘grandfathered’) vessels.

When are proposed changes planned to apply?      From 1st January 2019

What are the key changes?  Fishing vessels (Class 1, 2 & 3) will be required to carry an EPIRB designed to automatically activate and float-free.

Changes will apply to a vessel that:

  • operates beyond 2 nautical miles seaward from the coast;
  • is equal to or greater than 12 metres in length;
  • is less than 12 metres in length but does not have level flotation.

Note: Vessels less than 12 metres but have level flotation can continue to carry the kind of EPIRB currently required.

To assist industry review of the proposed changes AMSA has prepared the following information:

  • explanatory information summarising the proposed changes;
  • a draft amending instrument for NSCV Part C7B and NSCV Part G; and
  • an estimate of costs that would be incurred by business in complying with the proposed changes.

Click here to view consultation documents and supporting material (ID: MO-NSCV C7B). For more information head to: HTTPS://APPS.AMSA.GOV.AU/MOREVIEW

Have your say – AMSA is seeking industry feedback sent to consultation@amsa.gov.au by Tuesday 12 December 2017.


COMMENTS CLOSE: 12 December 2017

Purpose: The revised exemptions address issues identified with the administration of the current exemptions and in response to industry enquires and concerns.

AMSA has opened public consultation on proposed amendments to:

  • Exemption EX06 (Extensions of time for periodic survey & equipment certification)
  • Exemption EX07 (Temporary operations)

What are the key elements of the proposal?

  1. Exemption EX06

AMSA proposes to allow for an application for an extension of time for periodic survey and equipment certification to be made:

  • in the 90 days before or after the due date of the survey or inspection; and
  • in the 90 days before or after or the date of the expiry of the equipment certificate of currency.
  1. Exemption EX07

AMSA proposes to improve the operational agility of the exemption by:

  • allowing for accredited marine surveyors (or other persons permitted under MO503) to conduct surveys to approve temporary operations for sea trials;
  • allowing for accredited marine surveyors AMS to approve temporary operations after a periodic survey where minor non-conformances that do not jeopardise safety have been identified.  This will permit operation while the minor non-conformances are being rectified;
  • allowing for accredited marine surveyors to approve temporary operations after a renewal survey, including where non-conformances that do not jeopardise safety have been identified. This will permit operation while an application for a further certificate of survey is being decided;
  • providing for a limited extension of time to finalise the out of water component of a renewal survey after the certificate has expired and all other components of the renewal survey have been completed; and
  • broadening the circumstances where AMSA may approve operation without certificates.

To assist your review of the revised EX06 and EX07 AMSA has prepared the following information:

  • Explanatory information summarising the proposed changes
  • Draft revised EX06 and EX07 instruments

Click to view consultation documents. For further information head to: https://apps.amsa.gov.au/moreview

  • Ex06 (ID: MO-EX06)
  • Ex07 (ID: MO-EX07)

       Have your say by Tuesday 12 December 2017. AMSA is seeking industry feedback to be sent to consultation@amsa.gov.au


AMSA Takeover Transition Extended to July 2018

Many of you are already aware of the move for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to takeover responsibility for marine safety from the States.

You will also be aware of the recent proposal from AMSA seeking to impose a levy process to recover the full cost of services provided and activities carried out.

WAFIC, together with it’s counterparts in other States, led the charge against the proposed cost recovery levy proposal. Multi-pronged submissions were made to AMSA and the Federal Transport Minister seeking a more comprehensive consultation process, to establish options that meet the promised government objectives of a streamlined, cost efficient and more safety conscious service delivery.

Industry expressed the view in submissions that this issue is too important to be rushed through without proper industry consultation and analysis of the potential impact on fishing vessel owners and operators.

The report sets out that the reality was that the industry generally supported the single national marine safety system but responded strongly to the issue of cost recovery itself, along with a host of related issues. The proposed full cost recovery approach of the National System and the two model options prompted highly emotional and mainly very negative reactions.

State and Federal Transport Ministers heard the industry message and at a meeting in early November they voted to continue to progress towards AMSA assuming responsibility for marine safety but to extend the transition timeframe to 1 July 2018 to allow jurisdictions and industry to better consult and prepare for these significant changes.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said the feedback received from industry has been given careful consideration and extending the timeframe to 1 July 2018 will allow each to better consult and prepare for the changes before AMSA assumes responsibility.

AMSA released a report on the consultation feedback received from industry across the nation. Review full report

Safety Management Systems Required on All Vessels by 1st July 2016

All fishing vessels in Australia will require a formal Safety Management System (SMS) under both workplace and marine safety legislation across the nation from 1st July 2016.

What is a safety management system and why do I need one? Follow this link to find out.

A sample safety management system (SMS) for a fishing vessel can be found here.

You Must have Your Vessel’s Stability Documentation – What Happens If NOT!!

From July 2017, marine safety services are to be delivered across the nation by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). The WA Department of Transport DoT(WA) will no longer be conducting vessel surveys.

Under the new national marine safety laws – National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) – it is a requirement that stability documentation is on-board a vessel.

The stability documentation must reflect the current configuration of the vessel and be consistent with the class and operation of the vessel.

Survey checklists to be used by official vessel surveyors will contain a specific requirement to check if appropriate vessel stability documentation is on-board.

DoT(WA) has identified that there may be issues in the future that where stability data is not available on-board, the accredited marine surveyor may not be in a position to finalise a periodic survey and this may stop a vessel going to sea.

So what to do if you do not have stability documentation on-board your vessel?

  • Check your records ashore for the vessel’s stability documentation
  • Check with any previous owners to obtain a copy of the stability documentation
  • Check with the vessel’s builder/designer for a copy of the stability documentation

If the owner is able to obtain the documentation this way the owner must check that the stability documentation fits the vessel’s current configuration – layout, loading and fishing operations. If the stability documentation is correct the owner must ensure that the documentation is retained on-board.

If you are unable to obtain stability documentation for your vessel, DoT(WA) has agreed to provide vessel owners with stability documentation for their vessel between now and 1st July 2017. After this date access to vessel files and historical data will not be as easily accessible by authorities. It is important to stress that any information provided by DoT WA would only represent the stability information as of the date of any approval held on file.

It is the responsibility of the owner/operator to ensure that approved stability information is carried on-board and is relevant for the vessel’s configuration.

During annual surveys from now until July 2017, vessels will be checked for current stability documentation. Where no documentation is provided DoT(WA) will offer advice to owners/skippers on how to go about obtaining the required data as follows:

  • Owners should contact DoT WA Commercial Vessel Safety Branch for assistance. DoT WA will check the vessel files for any stability documentation.
  • If a copy is held on file, which is often the case, DoT WA will advise the owner and:
    • If the documentation is subject to Intellectual Property (IP) restrictions (e.g. the documentation has been produced by an existing shipbuilder, designer or marine consultant) the owner will be advised of the contact details;
    • The vessel owner will need to obtain written confirmation from the IP holder to allow release of the documentation by DoT(WA);
    • Once DoT(WA) receive a release authorisation from the IP holder, an electronic copy of the documentation will be made available to the vessel owner; and
    • If the documentation is not subject to Intellectual Property restrictions an electronic copy of the documentation will be made available to the owner.

DoT(WA) will not charge a fee for the provision of an electronic copy of your vessel’s stability documentation.

There will be cases where DoT WA does not have stability documentation on file, such as in the case of a vessel that has transferred to WA from other States. The vessel owner will need to obtain the required stability documentation from the relevant IP holder or state marine authority.

Where stability documentation for the vessel cannot be acquired at all, or the stability information obtained no longer reflects the vessels current arrangement, layout, loading and operations, the owner will be required to have appropriate stability documentation prepared and approved by an AMSA accredited marine surveyor.

Note: In the past in WA, certain types of Class 3 commercial fishing vessels were exempt from requiring stability documentation. The exemption from having to hold stability documentation for these commercial vessels will continue so long as they still meet the conditions of the exemption.

For further assistance please contact:

Commercial Vessel Safety Branch, Department of Transport (WA), Address: 1 Essex Street, Fremantle, WA, 6160

Tel: 1300 723 226 / (08) 9435 7601  Email: CVS.boats@transport.wa.gov.au

How does ‘Grandfathering’ Work for your Vessel?

AMSA have released a Fact Sheet to guide vessel owners on the survey arrangements for vessels that have received ‘grandfather’ status from the time the National Marine Safety System was introduced in 2013. https://www.amsa.gov.au/forms-and-publications/Fact-Sheets/AMSA682.pdf

Grandfathering arrangements allow existing vessels to continue operating under the survey requirements that existed before the introduction of the National System ONLY WHERE the vessel has not been significantly modified or stability affected by equipment additions.

If this is the case the standards that applied to the vessel when the WA Certificate of Survey (CoS) was last issued prior to 2013 will continue to apply. The vessel owner does not have to upgrade the vessel or its equipment to meet the ‘new National System standards’ and the vessel is able to continue being surveyed in accordance with the survey requirements that applied under the WA Certificate of Survey.

If a ‘grandfathered’ vessel is due for a new CoS issued under the new national Marine Safety System he owner will need to contact an accredited marine surveyor to assess whether the vessel still meets the requirements that applied to it before 1 July 2013.

New managers for marine safety in Australia

Keep up to date on progress on the changeover of marine safety responsibility to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

From 2017 AMSA will be responsible the safety of vessels and the seafarers operating in the domestic commercial industry. State and Territory marine safety agencies (eg Department Transport WA) will act as delegates of AMSA and will be responsible for the face-to-face operations of the National System. Click here for details

How to Operate a Commercial Fishing Vessel ‘Recreationally’

Previously you had to apply to the authorities to gain permission.

AMSA ‘Exemption 04’ lets a person operate a commercial fishing vessel recreationally by exempting it from National Law limits on crewing and operating areas.

  • If the vessel is less than 12m long there is no need to apply but you must comply with the conditions of Exemption 04 which applies automatically
  • If the vessel is longer than 12m you must apply to the authorities. Once approved, you must comply with the conditions of Exemption 04.

A copy of Exemption 04 is available at: AMSA Website

Information on how to apply to operate a vessel longer than 12m ‘recreationally’ is at AMSA Website

Areas specified as Restricted C operational areas

AMSA has a advisory notes that provides details of the areas nominated by the state and Northern Territory jurisdictions as Restricted C operational areas as they apply to Exemption 40.

Exemption 40 provides an exemption from the requirement to have a Certificate of Survey for non-passenger or fishing vessels that:

  • are less than 12 metres long;
  • operate only in the C restricted operation areas nominated (see note below);
  • any operational area D (partially smooth water operations); or,
  • any operational area E (smooth water operations).

The exemption is subject to the vessel meeting specified operational, design and construction requirements, which are specified as conditions of the exemption. Restricted C vessels require an inspection by an attested person and are required to be re-inspected every five years to ensure continuing compliance with Exemption 40.

Note: The areas nominated by the states and Northern Territory as Restricted C operational areas are summarised at in the tables found at: AMSA Website

New AMSA Accredited Vessel Surveyors

AMSA introduced the Surveyor Accreditation Scheme (the scheme) on 2 January 2015.

This system allows both private and government surveyors.

If your vessel requires survey to make sure it meets safety requirements, it is up to you to select an AMSA-accredited surveyor (surveyors accredited under the Surveyor Accreditation Scheme). Go to: AMSA Website

You can select any accredited surveyor in the scheme within the limit of the categories that the surveyor is accredited for, and any limitations that may be applied to their accreditation.

For example of a surveyor’s limitation may be a particular construction material (ie they can survey steel and aluminum vessels, but not timber or reinforced plastic vessels).

As at 22 April 2016, there were accredited surveyors in WA.

You can find a list of accredited surveyors on the AMSA website, along with each surveyor’s contact details, the categories that they are accredited for, and the area in which they operate. Go to New AMSA Accredited Vessel Surveyors: AMSA Website

AMSA’s My Boat application

AMSA has released ‘My Boat’ – an online application developed to help industry understand and comply with vessel survey requirements. It’s free.

Based on the National Standards for Commercial Vessels, Marine Orders and National Law exemptions, you only need to put in the details of your vessel and My Boat will produce results specific to you.

AMSA encourages vessel owners and operators sign up as a member and use the available tools at CLICK HERE

Delay in Review of NSCV Part D – Certificates of Competency

AMSA has advised that the review process for NSCV Part D (Certificates of Competency) has been delayed indefinitely.

An important component of that review was the introduction a new Coxswain 3 ticket for base-line low complexity vessels in the aquaculture and inshore fishing areas.

AMSA issued Exemption 38 as a ‘bridging’ process between Restricted Coxswain tickets and the introduction of the new Coxswain 3 ticket. Ex38 is expected to be extended until eventually replaced by a new Coxswain 3 ticket when the NSCV Part D review is completed.

Standing Exemptions: Changes and Extensions

AMSA has recently made changes to a number of standing exemptions that may apply to commercial fishing vessels. Standing exemptions are an important part of AMSA’s initiative to ensure its regulations are relevant, flexible and risk-based.

AMSA has recently made changes to a number of standing exemptions forms, guidance notices and advisories that may apply to commercial fishing vessels. Standing exemptions are an important part of AMSA’s initiative to ensure its regulations are relevant, flexible and risk-based. CLICK HERE

AMSA Guidance materials

AMSA provides a range of guidance notes, advisory sheets, fact sheets and the myriad forms required to apply for various activities or services.

Click Here


1. Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Now in Charge

AMSA is responsible the safety of vessels and the seafarers operating in the domestic commercial industry. State and Territory marine safety agencies act as delegates of AMSA and are responsible for the face-to-face operations of the National System. Click here for more information.

What are the laws governing all Australia commercial fishing vessels? Click here.

2. Australian Marine Safety Authority – Communication with Industry

AMSA have several information publications available for industry. For more information.

3. Guidance Notices for Owners and Skippers

AMSA has developed a range of guidance notices for owners and skippers to better understand how to implement the new national maritime safety regulations.

These can be found here

4. Useful Links on AMSA Website

Domestic Commercial Vessel Section – http://www.amsa.gov.au/domestic

Consultation with Industry – http://www.amsa.gov.au/community/consultation

AMSA Twitter – @AMSA_News

AMSA Facebook Page – http://www.facebook.com/AustralianMaritimeSafetyAuthority

5. Useful Contacts at AMSA

AMSA WA Liaison Officer – Chris Battel – email: chris.battel@amsa.gov.au  mob: 0437 788 291

AMSA Contact Centre – (02) 6279 5000 (Canberra)

Feedback to AMSA on National System – Email


 1. Worksafe WA manages Workplace Safety in WA

WorkSafe is a division of the Department of Commerce and its role is regulation of workplace safety and health in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (the OSH Act). The principal objective of OSH laws is to promote and secure the safety and health of people in the workplace. Click here for details.

2. WA Workplace Legislation and Regulations

Workplace safety in WA is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984. Click here.

3. Man Overboard Code of Practice

The code is a guideline outlining ways in which to address the risks associated with accidental falls from commercial fishing vessels, and covers both the prevention of falls and the emergency responses if a man overboard incident occurs. Details can be found here.

4. Safe Work Australia

The Commonwealth and all State governments have agreed to enter a collaborative and consultative process for developing greater consistency in work health and safety regulations (known as ‘harmonization’). Details here.

SafeWork Australia was established to lead the development of this national policy to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.

SafeWork Australia has primary responsibility to lead the development of policy and ‘model laws’ to improve work health and safety and workers’ compensation arrangements across Australia.

As a national policy body Safe Work Australia does not regulate work health and safety laws. Individual State governments retain responsibility for regulating and enforcing work health and safety laws in their jurisdiction.