Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Boating Safety

Establishment: Vice-Chancellor, 31 August 2016
Last Amended:  
Nature of Amendment:  
Date Last Reviewed:  
Responsible Officer: Director, People and Culture

1.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish responsibilities and actions required to manage the risks to health and safety associated with the use of boats and other watercraft, in accordance with legislative requirements and the University’s Work Health and Safety Policy.

2.  Policy principle

University boating activities will be undertaken in accordance with relevant legislation and the requirements set out in this Policy and the Safety Management System for each boat/vessel/watercraft.

3.  Scope

This policy applies to all workers, students and visitors involved in any aspect of boating activities related to their role with the University. Where the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has granted an exemption, there may be specific parts of this policy covered by the exemption that will not apply.

This policy does not apply to student recreational clubs1

1 Student clubs undertaking recreational boating activities are administered by Flinders Campus Community Services

4.  Definitions

Senior Executives Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Vice-President, Executive Deans of Faculty
Workers University staff, contractors and sub-contractors and their employees, labour hire company employees, trainees, students gaining work experience and volunteers.
Student A person who has an active enrolment status in a course of study at the University in accordance with the University’s statutes and policies on enrolment.
Boats, vessels and other watercraft Any vessel that is used, or is capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. Includes boats, canoes, kayaks, dinghies, tinnies, barges, submersibles, air-cushion vessel and  autonomous vessels.
Domestic commercial vessel (DCV) A vessel that is used in connection with a commercial, governmental or research activity.
Certificate of competency A certificate, issued to a person by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which provides evidence of the seafarer’s capability to master a vessel and its passengers
Certificate of operation A certificate, issued to the University by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority which defines how an operation is undertaken, where it is undertaken, what vessels can be used and the personnel requirements for those vessels.
Certificate of survey A certificate, issued to the University by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, or equivalent international authorities, which provides evidence that a vessel has been surveyed and meets specified standards for construction stability and safety equipment.
Independent competent person Accredited marine surveyor, naval architect or consultant engineer
Master Person who has command or charge of the vessel and who has the appropriate certificate of competency. Includes a person in charge of boating activity where there is no legal requirement for a coxswain or certified Master.
Safety Management System (SMS) Documentation, required by legislation, which identifies risks and sets out controls and operational requirements to ensure that each vessel and the operations of the vessel are safe, so far as is reasonably practicable.

5.  Legislative and policy framework

Appendix A lists the relevant legislation, policies and standards.

6.  Responsibilities

Executive Deans (in Faculties where boating activities take place)

Responsible for ensuring that

  • these procedures are implemented in their Faculty/Portfolio;
  • workers, students, visitors and others in the workplace are aware of their responsibilities in relation to boating activities and are provided with adequate information, training, instruction and supervision; and
  • there are adequate resources to manage all aspects of boating safety.
Deans  of School
(in Schools where boating activities take place)
Responsible for authorising proposed boating activities within Field Trip guidelines
Maritime Safety Officer

Responsible for

  • providing advice and support to staff and students for boating activities;
  • approving plans for all proposed boating activities;
  • providing advice to Deans of School on the proposed boating activities;
  • overseeing training and verifying certification and boating competencies;
  • assisting with all boating management tasks within the relevant Faculty/School including day-to-day monitoring and oversight;
  • maintaining appropriate records, including vessel and master databases;
  • developing, implementing and reviewing Safety Management Systems for boats/watercraft;
  • ensuring that boats are surveyed (where required), that associated equipment is serviced and maintained and that relevant documentation is kept;
  • providing written reports to relevant health and safety committees summarising boating operations;
  • conducting an annual audit of each boat’s/watercraft’s safety management system; and
  • meeting other responsibilities as required.  
Field Trip Leader

Responsible for

  • ensuring that the appropriate vessel and crew are engaged for the field work or research; and
  • obtaining approval from the Maritime Safety Officer and the Dean of School for the proposed boating activity.   

Responsible for

  • so far as is reasonably practicable, ensuring the safety of
    • the people in the boat/watercraft;
    •  the boat/watercraft and when relevant, the vehicle and trailer;
    • the marine safety equipment that relates to the boat/ watercraft; and
    • the operation of the boat/watercraft. 
Workers, students and visitors (on board a boat/watercraft)

Responsible for

  • taking reasonable care for their own safety; and
  • complying with any lawful and reasonable directions of the Master.   

7.  Boating activities in Australian waters

Workers, students and visitors must comply with the provisions of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012, Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Regulations 2013, National Standards for Commercial Vessels and local port and harbour Regulations.

8.  Boating activities in international waters  and waters of other countries

Workers, students and visitors must comply with relevant international or local legislation, as well as the safety requirements of this Policy.

9.  Boat registration

University owned boats must be registered with AMSA  as Domestic Commercial Vessels and are therefore subject to annual survey unless an exemption is granted by AMSA.

10.  Boat surveys

The University requires that all boats be in survey for waters in which they are to be used. Any University boat which is not in current survey must not be used unless exemption has been granted by AMSA.

11.  Qualifications for operating University boats/watercraft

11.1  All University boating activities require a minimum of two people to be present, one of whom is the Master of the vessel in charge of all aspects of the boating operation.

11.2  The Master must be a certified coxswain, except that in special and particular circumstances, an exemption from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) may be applied for through the Maritime Safety Officer.

11.3  If, as per 11.2, an exemption is granted for a Master to have a Recreational Boating Licence only, the Master must hold a Provide First Aid certificate and must pass a practical competency test administered by the Maritime Safety Officer in the boat to be used.

11.4  At the discretion of the Maritime Safety Officer, canoes, kayaks and other human powered vessels may be exempted from the requirements of clauses 11.2 and 11.3.

11.5    All certified Masters, Coxswains and Recreational Boat Licence holders must be listed on the University Boat Operators database.

12.  Safety Management System

Each University boat/watercraft must have a documented and current Safety Management System (SMS) which includes:

  • summary of features;
  • crewing: qualifications, licences, number of people permitted in the boat/watercraft,
  • vessel: ID, hull type, Class, length, propulsion system, engine power;
  • identification of reasonably foreseeable hazards that could give rise to risks to health and safety;
  • measures to eliminate or minimise the risks so far as is reasonably practicable;
  • review of risk control measures;
  • user induction and training requirements;
  • safe work procedures for routine tasks;
  • safe work method statements for project/research tasks;
  • emergency plans and equipment;
  • planned maintenance schedule;
  • routine inspection records;
  • pre-departure checks;
  • logbook (‘ship’s log’);
  • annual audit for verification, review and evaluation.

Each SMS must be developed in consultation with the users of the boat/watercraft concerned and approved by the Maritime Safety Officer. A copy must be kept on file and on the boat/watercraft.

13.  Boating risk management

13.1  Hazard identification, risk assessment and identification of control measures must be done and documented, in consultation with those who are to be involved with the activity, for each boating activity before the activity takes place.

13.2  Completed risk assessments, including proposed control measures, must be authorised by the manager or supervisor of the person doing the risk assessment confirming that he/she is satisfied that so far as is reasonably practicable, all reasonably foreseeable hazards associated with the proposed boating activity have been identified and risks will be eliminated or minimised through the planned control measures.

14.  Safe Work Procedures

Following risk assessment(s) of the proposed boating activity(ies) and research tasks, written safe work procedures must be developed, in consultation with those who are to be involved with the activity/task, and implemented for the activity(ies) and tasks.

15.  Approval of boating activity

The Field Trip Leader must obtain approval from the Maritime Safety Officer and the relevant Dean of School, as part of the field trip approval process, before undertaking the boating activity.

16.  Authority of Maritime Safety Officer

The Maritime Safety Officer has the authority to restrict, prohibit or suspend boating activities, or require additional training, safety practices, procedures or equipment to ensure safety.

17.  Authority of Master

The Master is in command of the boat/watercraft and has the authority to cancel, postpone or modify the planned schedule at any time during the trip. The Master is responsible for keeping relevant people informed of any changes to the planned schedule.

18.  Pre-voyage safety requirements

Before leaving University premises, the Master of the boat/watercraft concerned must

  • complete a Boating Activity Operational Checklist;
  • ensure the towing vehicle has sufficient towing capacity for the watercraft/trailer/extra equipment;
  • complete a Trailer Checklist;
  • ensure the watercraft is checked to be correctly and safely secured on the trailer;
  • ensure the watercraft is checked for seaworthiness; and
  • ensure that all safety equipment is checked and the fuel supply is checked for the planned trip with at least a 40% reserve margin.

19.  Boating safety equipment

19.1  All boats/watercraft and trailers must be registered and tested as stipulated by legislation.

19.2  All boats/watercraft must have a 406MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) unless there is a separate shore or chase-boat safety observer always within line of sight.

19.3  All equipment must be checked to ensure it is in good condition, within the expiry date specified, operable and within the manufacturer’s recommendations.

19.4  Workers and students who use boats/watercraft and ancillary equipment must report any damage or malfunctions to their Manager/Supervisor and the Maritime Safety Officer as soon as practicable on return from the boating activity.

19.5  Safety equipment as prescribed by the Marine Safety National Law Act and Regulations, the National Standard for Commercial Vessels and as specified in the boat/watercraft’s survey must be carried on the boat/watercraft.

19.6  Any additional safety equipment as identified in the risk assessment must also be carried.

19.7  A checklist of equipment must be available in each boat/watercraft.

19.8  The Master is to check that all safety equipment is on board prior to departure and that workers and students understand the correct use of such equipment.

19.9  All safety equipment is to be stored in a boat/watercraft in such a manner that it is readily accessible in an emergency situation.

19.10  Any decision made by the Master in regard to safe work and the wearing of safety equipment is final and must be followed by all persons on the boat/watercraft.

20.  Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs)

20.1  PFDs must be worn by all persons on board a boat/watercraft at all times, except where this requirement is varied for operational reasons as specified in the SMS and where a Risk Assessment has been completed for the specific activity and approved by the Maritime Safety Officer and the relevant Dean of School.

20.2  The Master is responsible for ensuring that all on board wear PFDs.

21.  Non-University boats/watercraft

21.1  Hire/charter/commercial fishing boats may be used for University activities provided such vessels and activities comply with this Policy and have a current certificate of survey.

21.2  No privately owned boat/watercraft, other than a hire/charter boat, may be used for any University activity without the written permission of the relevant Dean of School.

21.3  As a minimum requirement, approval for use of privately owned boats/watercraft will only be considered if the boats/watercraft are registered, their details match those specified by their Australian Builders Plate2, covered by comprehensive insurance and comply with all safety requirements stipulated by State laws or the Marine Safety National Law Act and Regulations and the National Standard for Commercial Vessels.

21.4  A compliance checklist must be submitted to the Dean of School, through the Maritime Safety Officer.

2  Details include maximum number of people permitted on board, maximum power of engines, maximum load capacity.

22.  Modifying a boat/watercraft and/or its use

22.1  Where it is proposed to alter the design of a boat/watercraft, change the way the boat/watercraft is used or change a system of work associated with the boat/watercraft, the risk management process must be carried out again and control measures implemented to eliminate or minimise and risks created by the alteration.

22.2  If the boat/watercraft is to be used in a different way or for a purpose for which it was not designed, the risks associated with the new use must be assessed by the Maritime Safety Officer and if necessary, by an independent competent person. If the Maritime Safety Officer or a competent person decides that the boat/watercraft is not suitable for the proposed task, it must not be used for that task.

22.3  Changes made to a boat/watercraft must be notated on the boat/watercraft’s technical drawings and/or electrical wiring diagrams where these are available or shown through a series of photographs. These documents must be kept for the life of the watercraft.

22.4  Changes made to a boat must be notified to AMSA, through the Maritime Safety Officer.

23.  Reporting of accidents/incidents

23.1  Boating incidents/accidents that result in or include:

  • the loss of a vessel
  • a collision with another vessel or an object
  • the grounding, sinking, flooding or capsizing of a vessel
  • a fire
  • a loss of stability that affects the safety of the vessel
  • a close quarters situation
  • the death or injury, or possible death or injury, of a person on board
  • the loss, or possible loss, of a person from a vessel (even if picked up) (man-overboard – MOB)

must be reported to University Security, Associate Director WHS or the Maritime Safety Officer immediately.

23.2  The Associate Director, WHS must report any incidents listed in 23.1 to AMSA as soon as possible, and must provide a written report to AMSA within 72 hours.

23.3  All other marine accidents/incidents or near misses must be reported to the Maritime Safety Officer or the Associate Director, WHS as soon as reasonably practicable.

24.  Record keeping

The following records must be maintained:

  • Register of  boats/watercraft (maintained by the Maritime Safety Officer)
  • University boat operators (Masters, coxswains, recreational boat licence holders)  database (maintained by the Maritime Safety Officer)
  • Vessel log (maintained by the Master of the vessel)
  • Maintenance and inspection records (maintained by the University Boating and Diving Officer)

25.   University Boating and Diving Safety Committee

25.1  The University Boating and Diving Safety Committee reports to the University Health and Safety Committee on boating and diving safety matters.

25.2  Specific functions of the Committee are to

  • provide advice on the establishment, implementation and review of a boating and diving safety management systems to ensure the University complies with legislative requirements and manages the risks associated with boating and diving activities;
  • review and provide advice on boating and diving safety policies and procedures;
  • monitor boating and diving activities and boating and diving safety performance; and
  • provide a forum for discussing boating and diving safety.

25.3  The Committee comprises

  • one management representative from each Faculty involved in boating/diving activities
  • Maritime Safety Officer
  • Faculty/School staff and students involved in boating activities
  • University WHS Consultant

The Committee may co-opt additional members as appropriate.

26.  Deputy Maritime Safety Officer

The Associate Director, WHS will nominate a suitably qualified person to act in the role of Deputy Maritime Safety Officer when the need arises.

27.  Review

This policy will be reviewed at least every 4 years to ensure it remains effective, relevant and appropriate to the University, and reflects current legislative requirements.

Appendix A

Legal and Policy framework

Legislation and Australian Standards

Work Health and Safety Act 2012 (SA)
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 (SA)
Approved Code of Practice for Managing Risks of Plant in the Workplace 2012
Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012
Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Regulation 2013
Australian Maritime Safety Authority Marine Orders and Exemptions
Navigation Act 2012 (Cth)
Harbors and Navigation Act, 1993 (SA)
Harbors and Navigation Regulations (2009) (SA)
National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV)

AS4758.1:2008 Personal Floatation Devices – General requirements