New safety equipment requirements for small fishing vessels

THE Australian Maritime Safety Authority has simplified safety equipment requirements for small fishing vessels operating close to shore.

tangled rope hanging on yacht in sunlight
Photo by Lachlan Ross on

Acting Executive Director Policy and Regulation Michal Drake said commercial fishing vessels in Australia have been required to gradually adopt more modern safety equipment requirements.

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“AMSA received feedback from Queensland commercial fishing operators the safety equipment requirements for small vessels operating close to land are onerous, don’t reflect the true risks associated with their operations, and are impractical to apply,” Mr Drake said.

“One example would be the requirement to carry a liferaft – that’s logical for a larger vessel with multiple people on board out at sea, but not for a tinny that’s only five metres long with one person on board operating in waist-deep water.”

Mr Drake said AMSA had listened to industry and sought their feedback on safety equipment lists for near shore fisheries and specialised beach fishing.

“AMSA has worked with the fishing industry to find a more risk-based approach to safety equipment requirements for certain fishing operations.”

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Mr Drake said AMSA consulted for over three months and the fishing industry was broadly supportive of the alternative safety equipment lists.

“Feedback from fishers was taken on board by AMSA which broadened the application of the list for commercial beach fishing to be available nationally and not limited to warm waters. Both lists will also be available to operators with two people on board, and not just solo operators.”

AMSA has taken the feedback on board and for six months will trial new arrangements which will allow fishing vessels up to 12 metres operating close to shore to access these streamlined safety equipment requirements.

“The new lists are a risk-based, common sense approach to safety equipment, and will save industry money without compromising on safety,” Mr Drake said.

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The new arrangements are now in place and they will automatically apply to eligible commercial fishers.

For more information, click here or call AMSA Connect on 1800 627 484.

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