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Commercial and fishing vessel certification

All vessels used in connection with any commercial, government or research activity in Australia must have a valid certificate to operate. These vessels are used for business activities or financial reward and must comply with commercial requirements. This includes activities where no direct fees are received. They include:

  • fishing ships
  • tourist or charter vessels
  • ferries
  • water taxis
  • dive boats
  • general work vessels.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national regulator of domestic commercial vessels. Contact AMSA for all domestic commercial vessel enquiries.

Categories of registration

In Queensland, commercial vessels can be registered in 2 ways:

  • as domestic commercial vessels under the National System for Domestic Commercial Vessel Safety (the national system)
  • as Queensland regulated ships (other or prescribed other)—for a small group of commercial vessels operating exclusively in Queensland that are excluded from the national system. For example, school owned ships and surf lifesaving ships.

Queensland regulated ships (other and prescribed other)

Registration numbers are allocated to Queensland regulated ships (other and prescribed other). You must display the registration numbers so they are clearly visible in a contrasting colour to the hull of your ship. The size of the characters depends on the type of ship:

  • ships not capable of planing—at least 75mm high on both sides or on the stern
  • ships capable of planing—at least 150mm high on both sides
  • personal watercraft—at least 100mm high on both sides.

Changing your ship details

If you have a certificate issued by Maritime Safety Queensland, you can change your details or certificate conditions at a Maritime Safety Queensland office. Bring with you:

If you have a certificate issued by Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), you can change your details or certificate conditions at an AMSA state office or participating retail outlet. Bring with you:

Tenders to Queensland regulated ships

Tenders to commercial ships don't need certificates if they are only used to transport goods or people between the shore and the parent ship. Tenders must be listed on the parent vessel's certificate and marked with the word 'tender' and the parent vessel's registration symbols, at least 75mm high. If this is not possible, markings should be on the inside of the boat in the largest characters possible.

The tender must be used within 2nm of the parent ship if it is a Queensland commercial ship tender.