A fire in the engine room can very quickly become can be a catastrophic one! If not contained quickly the fire can go from ignition to a major fire in a matter of seconds.

Types and causes of engine room fires

One of the common causes is bags of rags, especially used ones left in the engine room. They will often ignite for no apparent reason and if not dealt with quickly can lead to a major fire quickly.

Think about what’s in your engine room, there’s engine and gearbox oil, often hydraulic oil, fuel, rags, grease, a combination of gases and many other things that are fuel for fires!

The common types of fires normally encountered in engine room fires are:

  1. Oil based
  2. Electrical

Oil based fires are often caused by a build-up of oil &/or grease on items in your engine room or in the bilge and ignited by a simple spark!

  • Too high a temperature in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Highly flammable vegetable oils
  • Old, more flammable oil in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Fat deposits in and around the flue and ventilation ducts
  • Fat deposits in and around the cooking area
  • Leaving the galley unattended

The most common causes of electrical fires in your engine room are:

  1. Faulty or damaged wiring
  2. Faulty electrical fittings or fixtures
  3. Faults in power distribution boards
  4. Fuel leaks
  5. Oil leaks
  6. Exhaust leaks
  7. Turbo charger leaks
  8. Misaligned bearings that overheat
  9. Rags
  10. And many other items!

Chaffed, exposed or even old or outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If the wiring does not have the capacity to handle electrical appliances being used you’re heading for a fire situation.

Simple steps in dealing with engine room fires

Dealing with an engine room fire on your boat will depend on whether you have a fire suppression system fitted or not. below I’ll outline the basic steps for dealing with an engine room fire.

With a Suppression system fitted

  • At the first sign of a fire either by an alarm system or other means raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Assess the situation: Is it safe to enter the engine room. Test the heat by putting the back of your hand on the hatch or door. If it’s very hot do not attempt to open the door or hatch
  • Position the vessel according to prevailing conditions
  • Activate fire pump (if installed)
  • If safe to enter ensure you have a back-up person at the engine room entry then enter to assess the situation
  • Fight the fire using the appropriate fire extinguisher
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water where electricity is on
  • Use the fire or deck hose for boundary cooling
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the engine room and close the door/hatch
  • Conduct a head count to ensure all persons have exited the engine room
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • Shut down all machinery in the engine room
  • Close all fuel and air shut offs and turn of engine rooms fans if applicable
  • Release the fire suppression system
  • Continue to monitor the situation and do not open the engine room door/hatch until you are sure the chance of re-ignition is minimised
  • Prepare to abandon ship
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Abandon ship if necessary

No Fire Suppression system installed

  • At the first sign of a fire either by an alarm system or other means raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Assess the situation: Is it safe to enter the engine room. Test the heat by putting the back of your hand on the hatch or door. If it’s very hot do not attempt to open the door or hatch
  • Position the vessel according to prevailing conditions
  • Activate fire pump (if installed)
  • If safe to enter ensure you have a back-up person at the engine room entry then enter to assess the situation
  • Fight the fire using the appropriate fire extinguisher
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water where electricity is on
  • Use the fire or deck hose for boundary cooling
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the engine room and close the door/hatch
  • Conduct a head count to ensure all persons have exited the engine room
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • Shut down all machinery in the engine room
  • Close all fuel and air shut offs and turn of engine rooms fans if applicable
  • Continue to monitor the situation and do not open the engine room door/hatch until you are sure the chance of re-ignition is minimised
  • Prepare to abandon ship
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Abandon ship if necessary

The above steps for dealing with an engine room fire are the basic general steps to put in place. Your procedure for dealing with engine room fires will depend on a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • Do you have a fire suppression system fitted in the engine room?
  • Do you have a fire pump or deck hose installed?
  • Where you locate your fire extinguishers
  • What type of fire extinguishers you have available in the engine room
  • What you store in the engine room
  • How many crew are onboard
  • And any number of other factors specific to your vessel

You don’t want your engine room to end up like this!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

My 3 prevent a fire  in your engine room recommendations are:

  1. Ensure your engine room is kept clean and free (as much as possible) from oil and grease build ups
  2. Undertake regular inspections of the following:
  • fuel systems
  • exhaust systems
  • electrical systems
  • hydraulic systems
  1. Ensure your fire extinguishers and suppression system (where fitted) are well maintained and in service at all times because…you never know when you’ll need them!


My top tips for preventing engine room fires are:

  • Regularly check the operation of both fuel and air shut offs
  • Don’t leave bags of rags (especially used ones) in the engine room
  • The biggest tip of all is to ensure all your crew have appropriate training in fire response based on your vessel and its operations.

By following these simple tips, the chances of a fire in your engine room are reduced significantly.

Log Books – Fire Safety Manual

Fire safety manuals are required for vessels who carry passengers and some cargo vessels.

Our fire safety manuals are vessel specific and developed based on the vessel and its operations. Manuals may include Fire control plan, fire training manual and fire safety operational booklet as required by the NSCV Part C Section 4.

POA based on vessel and operations!

The simple answer is YES.

We’re lucky that in Australia COVID-19 is not as rampart as it is in most other parts of the world but we all must remain vigilant, especially employers to keep it that way! To do that we all need to follow the legislated guidelines.

Every workplace must have a COVID Safe management plan to help protect its staff, customers and visitors and to prepare for a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVIID-19) in your workplace.

This plan is your Work Health and Safety plan that all businesses are required to have and maintain. It does not need to be submitted to the Chief Health Officer for approval and should be made available when requested.

This plan must demonstrate how you will meet all requirements set out by the Chief Health Officer. Some higher-risk industries or workplaces have additional obligations for employers and employees.

WorkSafe have specific requirements for employers in relation to COVID-19. Below is an extract from WorkSafe.


  • You must take action to protect workers and others at the workplace from the risk of exposure to COVID-19 so far as is reasonably practicable. This includes implementing the public health measures issued by health authorities including Queensland Health and the Australian Government Department of Health.
  • It is vital that you consult with and communicate with workers and their health and safety representatives (HSRs) on workplace measures to address COVID-19.

Put in place a plan to respond to COVID-19

  • Also put in place any directives issued by Health departments – this should include infection prevention and control policies and procedures, safe systems of work, how workers and their HSRs will be consulted, and how you will monitor and update your plan as public health information changes.
  • Consult with workers on the plan and display it clearly in the workplace. Consultation with workers, and, where applicable their representative, is required at each step of the risk management process.

Employers are required to implement measures to keep workers safe and stop the spread of COVID-19 which includes but is not limited to:

  • implementing and promoting high order controls to complement hygiene practices (g. social distancing such as work from home where possible, create separate walkways through worksites, limit numbers of people in lunch or crib rooms or install barriers and screens)
  • The use of personal protective equipment PPE

The only way to safely and effectively manage your workplace in relation to COVID-19 is to have a COVIDSafe plan in place!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We all have to learn to live COVID-19 now and to be able to manage not only the spread but also the psycho-social risks for workers.

To do this we recommend you have a COVIDSafe plan in place and train and supervise workers on workplace measure to address COVID-19.  Shorlink can develop COVIDSafe plans to suit your specific operations and all of our COVIDSafe plans are accepted by Health Departments Australia wide.  Contact us today for more details.


When developing your COVIDSafe plan check to see if you come under a COVID Safe Industry Plan as this may save you a lot of work.

Alternatively contact us if you would like more information on COVIDSafe site-specific plans or COVID Safe Event Plans.

Following on from Bomb Threat is to look at a procedure for when you find a suspicious object, and I don’t mean a drunken passenger slouched in the corner.

What is a suspicious object?

A suspicious object is defined as any item (e.g., package, bag, etc.) identified as potentially containing explosives, an IED or other hazardous material that requires bomb technician diagnostic skills and specialised equipment for further evaluation.

Suspicious object indicators

Suspicious indicators are based upon the prevailing and/or communicated threat, placement and proximity of the item to people and valuable assets. More tangible aspects include but are not limited to:

  • Unexplainable wires or electronics
  • Other visible bomb-like components
  • Unusual sounds
  • Vapours
  • Mists
  • Odours

What to do if you find a suspicious object!

If you find, or have reported to you that there is a suspicious object onboard or in your office, factory or other area follow the steps outlined below.

  1. DO NOT touch, move, cover or tamper with the object
  2. Report the object to the Master immediately
  3. Report the object to Police by calling 000
  4. Conspicuously mark the location
  5. Ensure there are no other suspicious objects in the vicinity
  6. Evacuate the immediate area
  7. DO NOT use mobile phones or radio communications within 30 metres of the object
  8. Be prepared to abandon ship if instructed to do so by emergency personnel

Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you carry passengers or cargo we recommend developing a procedure for what to do if a suspicious object is located onboard your vessel or in your premises.

This procedure should link in with your bomb threat procedure and be based on whether you carry passengers, cargo or both.


Consider your exposure level to the public and where you operate. Do you carry large numbers of passengers, cargo or both?

If yes then our tip is to not only have procedures for a Bomb Threat and Suspicious Object Located but also to develop a Counter Terrorism Plan.


Log Books   

What to do in an emergency, including finding Suspicious Object should always be recorded and yourselves and your crew should know exactly what to do.

Record all of your Emergency Preparedness Training (drills) in our Crew Training Log Book which also saves having to fill out forms in your SMS!

You can order online today with free postage – Click Here!

Watchkeeping and watchkeeper responsibilities!

This newsletter is about watchkeeping on Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) for vessels less than 35 metres operating within the EEZ.

Watchkeeping, do you need a ticket for being a watchkeeper on a DCV <35mtrs?

Whilst its best if the person on watch has a deck ticket it’s not a requirement. There’s no problem in a crew member who has been trained in watchkeeping procedures and the Master deems competent to stand a watch.

In fact, if a watchkeeper on a DCV had to have a ticket there is likely to be either less vessels operating or more marine incidents.

A watchkeeper may be the Master or another crew member deemed competent to undertake watchkeeping duties.

When a Master hands over watchkeeping duties to a crew member remember that the person on watch has been given control over the safety of the vessel and all persons onboard!

A person on watch is required to maintain a lookout using all available means which includes but is not limited to:

  • Sight
  • Sound
  • The use of electronics; e.g. radar, sounders, etc.

Every SMS should have a watchkeeping procedure which includes:

  • Recording the name and time of crew members on and off watch
  • Masters Standing Orders
  • Following the planned course
  • Maintaining safe navigation
  • Maintaining a radio watch
  • Monitoring machinery, plant and all alarms
  • Being aware of situations or conditions that do or have the potential to affect safety
  • Recording events in the vessels Log Book
  • Most importantly calling the Master if in doubt

Being on watch means not only when you’re working or steaming but also at anchor so ensure the above items are followed even when at anchor which is when a lot of incidents occur!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Develop a watchkeeping procedure and ensure it gets followed at all times. We strongly recommend developing a watchkeeping hand-over sheet which includes:

  • Vessels current position, course and speed
  • Position and number of potential hazard (if any)
  • Other vessels in close proximity
  • Special conditions affecting the vessels progress or operations (wind, tide, etc.)
  • Navigational aids
  • Each crew members operational duties if working

With some of our clients we have developed a sign over form which each item is ticked off during the hand-over process then signed by the watchkeeper going off duty and the one taking over.

Our other recommendation is when travelling at periods of restricted visibility (at night, dusk or dawn, fog, etc.) in waters that restrict your manoeuvrability by way of channel width or depth place a lookout on the bow and reduce speed!


One of the best gadgets to have is a Watch Alarm which you can set different intervals between alarms which are designed to ensure you remain awake.

Take Note: if you are getting tired or falling asleep when on watch WAKE SOMEONE UP do not try to battle through your watch and put the vessel and all persons onboard at risk!

Our other BIG tip is when on watch don’t just sit in the chair, get up, walk around and ensure you look behind you as well. A 360° lookout has saved may a vessel from a collision. Don’t always think that because you’re keeping a lookout the other vessels crew are doing the same!

That’s what one business owner got hit with due to an incident with a forklift truck resulting in the death of a worker.

Failing to have a safety management system in place with procedures, checks for appropriate tickets and licences and the provision of training was a key factor in the death of the worker.

The employer was hit with a $600,000 fine and that was only the beginning. Ongoing related expenses including compensation payments, increased insurance premiums, and other ongoing related costs were in addition to the fine!

On the other side of that one of our clients had a Master involved in a marine incident which involved an injury to a passenger. This resulted in AMSA and Work Health and Safety undertaking a major investigation into the incident.

The company was facing $250,000+ in fines plus potential jail time for the owner and the Master was looking at fines of $18,000 or more.

When the officers reviewed the SMS manual then the induction and training documents that we developed they were satisfied that the employer had taken all reasonable steps to ensure a safe vessel and workplace. No action was taken against the business or its owners.

The outcome of the investigation was that the Master was negligent in his actions in operating the vessel resulting in the injury to the passenger. Based on our expert witness statement the fine was reduced to $5,000.

The bottom line!

Most vessel owners and operators now know they require an SMS which complies with either MO 504 for Domestic Commercial Vessel (DCV) or the ISM Code for Regulated Australian Vessels (RAV).

What many business owners don’t know or choose to ignore is the fact that any person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is required under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers at the workplace.

This is achieved by implementing a Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS). Today there are 2 recognised systems of WHSMS available:

  1. AS/NZS 4801 which is recognised in Australia and New Zealand; or
  2. ISO45001 which is recognised internationally.

If you only operate in the domestic (Australian) marketplace then AS/NZS4801 is fine but if you operate internationally then you’re better off with ISO45001.

Note that under the Work Health and Safety Act a volunteer association does not conduct a business or undertaking for the purpose of the Act. See Section 6 (7) on Page 22.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

 It’s simple, if you don’t have a safety management system in place for your vessel or workplace if you’re a land-based business then you need to get one NOW, don’t waste time and be exposed, especially in the event of an incident.

Note that the global trend now is moving towards “is there a failure by an organisation or an individual to create a culture of compliance” which is what AMSA and WHS are looking at now and why our managed services are quickly gaining traction!


Determine what standard is best suited to your business and get started now to ensure not only your safety but that of your crew or worker!  Do you have questions? Contact us today and we would be happy to discuss further!

While your SMS may meet AMSA requirements under MO504 will it stand up if challenged in court?

In many cases…NO!

We all know AMSA assesses SMS’s to ensure they have all the components required under MO504 and we’re all in favour of that because it helps you in getting your SMS up to speed.

But…did you know that while your SMS may meet AMSA’s requirements does it meet Work Health & Safety requirements?

Unfortunately, in many cases it does not which leaves you exposed in the event of an incident.

The bottom line is AMSA undertake an “assessment” of your SMS which does not, in most cases take in the content of your operational and emergency procedures to any extent.

Along with the risk assessments the procedures are the backbone of your SMS and if they are missing or don’t reflect how you do things you’re in trouble.

We’ve been involved in developing, auditing and assessing safety management systems, including risk assessments and procedures for over 30 years and we’re available to help you with your SMS compliance.

Shorlink now has available a number of services to help you in getting your SMS to a level where it offers the best legal protection. Listed below are our 3 key services to ensure your compliance.

  1. Basic Assessment – FOR FREE!
    We take marine safety so seriously, that we offer a free assessment of your current SMS.
    Our Principal Consult will review your current SMS and provide you with a report of areas which should be revised and procedures that should be included if required to meet AMSA requirements.
  2. Gap Analysis.
    Our Lead Auditor will conduct a gap analysis to determine the strength of your SMS including an initial review of your operational and emergency procedures. A written report will be provided upon completion. Prices start at a low $120.00
  3. Full System Audit.
    A full system audit entails a detailed review of your entire SMS including all operational and emergency procedures. This is undertaken by our Lead Auditor. An external full system audit provides the best possible protection in the event of an incident and…gives you peace of mind. For your best price to get peace of mind contact our office by…

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We highly recommend having your SMS reviewed by a competent person who has considerable industry experience.

If you don’t use Shorlink that’s fine but please be aware of people out there saying they have experience when, in fact have little or no relevant experience in the area you operate.

Of course we recommend Shorlink, that’s only natural but if not please be careful of who you engage to assess or audit your SMS!


When looking for an external party to assess or audit your SMS and in particular your procedures ask them about their experience in the operations you undertake.

If they don’t have hands on experience in your field, then think very carefully abut engaging them.

Our Principal Consultant and Lead Auditor, Wayne Linklater has been in the maritime industry for 50 years and has extensive hands on experience in boatbuilding, commercial vessel operations, safety management and auditing.

This is a big post, and there is a reason for this. Injuries happen and it is critically important and we have covered some of the most common injuries in detail.  Please be warned, this newsletter contains graphic images.


While we don’t like to think about injuries happening…sometimes they just do!

Injuries happen on commercial fishing boats

Injuries happen on charter vessels

Injuries happen on all vessels


It’s how we handle injuries that count and having the appropriate training is the first step in ensuring they are handled correctly.

If you have a commercial ticket then having current First Aid training is a requirement and a requirement that’s often overlooked by many.

The most common injuries we see are…

Scalds and Burns

A scald is caused by something wet such hot water or steam. Prawn cookers are high danger areas due to boiling water and vessel movement which can cause free surface effect allowing the hot water to splash out of the cooker with the potential of scalding.

You can get burns from hot oil/fat in the galley, hot items in the engine room and fires onboard. Burns have 3 classifications:

First degree (superficial) burns which only affect the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. The burn site is red, painful, dry with no blisters.

Second degree (partial thickness) burns involve the epidermis and part of the lower layer of skin, the dermis. The burn site is looks red, blistered and may be swollen and painful.

Third degree burns go through both layers of the skin and underlying tissue as well as the deeper tissue, possibly involving muscle and bone. There is no feeling in the area since the nerve endings are destroyed.

Cuts and abrasions

Cuts or incised wounds are caused by sharp objects such as knives or shards of glass slicing into the skin. Depending on the injury underlying blood vessels can be punctured leading to significant blood loss. A severed artery is a medical emergency because the muscular action of this blood vessel will pump the entire blood supply out of the wound in just a few minutes.

Abrasions are where the surface layers of the skin (epidermis) has been broken. Thin skinned bony areas (knees, ankles and elbows) are more prone to abrasions than thicker more padded areas. the scraped skin of an abrasion can contain particles of dirt.


A fracture is a break in a bone and can range from a hairline crack in the bone to the bone being broken into 2 or more pieces that no longer line up correctly. A fracture may occur at the same time as other injuries such as sprains, strains or dislocations.

 Sprains, strains and dislocations

Sprains involve the ligaments, otherwise know as the fibrous tissues that connect 2 bones together.

A strain is the stretching or tearing of the tendons, otherwise know as the fibrous tissues that connect your muscles to your bones.

Dislocations can only occur at joints and are injuries that cause the ends of your bones out of position within a joint. Common dislocations include ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, elbows, fingers and even your jaw.


Pinching, crushing

Pinching injuries are when a body part (finger, foot, etc.) gets jammed under or between objects. An example is when a door closes on you hand or figure pinching it.

Crush injuries occur when the body or a body part is trapped under or between objects. One of the common crushing injuries is when a large hatch drops down on a person or a body part crushing them or their body part.

Tropical infections

Tropical infections thrive in the hot and humid conditions of the tropics and sub-tropics and can develop from fish or prawn puncture wounds, the rubbing of gum boots on bare skin and many other reasons.

It’s important for your health that any time you see a potential for tropical infection such as boils, a rash or a puncture wound that you get the proper First Aid to prevent it from occurring.

A small puncture wound like in the photo below can rapidly become a major tropical infection like the picture on the right if left untreated.


Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 37°C. hypothermia occurs as your body temperature falls below 35°C.

When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually death.

Can you get hypothermia in the tropics or sub-tropics?

The answer is YES!

Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in cold water.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We always recommend that at least 2 crew members have current First Aid training to enable safe and efficient response to injuries.

The minimum requirement is Provide First Aid plus Provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation

For those who operate in remote areas we strongly recommend taking the Provide First Aid in remote situations course.


Any time an injury occurs it’s important that it’s recorded in the vessels Log Book. In the event of a legal case being launched a failure to record the injury makes it hard to defend in court.

Take a few minutes to record the incident including the victims name, what happened, the time and location onboard in your Log Book!

What is a tender?

Tenders may also be called dories or auxiliaries.

Photo provided by Trepang Fisheries.

Is it a tender?

To be a tender under the national law, the vessel must:

  1. Be used to transport goods or up to 12 people, or for a purpose associated with the parent vessel’s operation.
  1. Operate in line of sight of its parent vessel, or another distance approved in writing by AMSA, or in a marina or mooring area.
  2. Measure less than 7.5 metres or another length approved in writing by AMSA.
  3. Measure less than its parent vessel.
  4. Not be powered by an inboard petrol engine.

Some owners call the vessel a tender but if it doesn’t meet the above criteria it cannot access these special arrangements, but AMSA may apply other exemptions.

Tenders existing before June 2013

These are tenders that were in service 2 years prior to 30 June 2013 which continue to operate in the same manner and are not modified.

Existing tenders may continue to:

  • Comply with all the requirements prior to 30 June 2013;
  • Display the UVI that was issued prior to 30 June 2013
  • Do not need approval to operate without a Certificate of Survey
  • Comply with current safety equipment in NSCV Part G
  • Operate within line of sight only if it was required to on 30 June 2013
  • Be crewed as required on 30 June 2013

New Tenders

These are generally entered service from 1 July 2013. Examples are:

  • A new build tender
  • A recreational vessel that starts work as a commercial tender
  • An old tender that was not used in the 2 years prior 1 July 2013

New tenders must comply with 3 key requirements:

  1. Design, construction, equipment and inspection requirements
  2. Certificates of operation and operational requirements
  3. Displaying a unique vessel identifier (UVI)

Tenders without parent vessels

Tenders are, often a small vessel attached to a larger one, but this is not always the case. AMSA’s definition of a tender does not require the tender to have a parent vessel.

Under the national law a tender may operate without a parent vessel while in a marina or mooring area. These types of operations may include work boats that perform maintenance activities around marinas or transport passengers from a wharf to moored vessels.

While these types of tenders may not be associated with a parent vessel the same rules apply to their operation.

While the operation of a tender associated with a parent vessel may be covered in the parent vessels safety management system a tender without a parent vessel must have its own dedicated safety management system.

Tenders without a parent vessel must also have their own unique vessel identifier.

Need more information about tenders then give us a call on 07 4242 1412 or email sms@shorlink.com

Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you operate a tender or tenders ensure they comply with all the current requirements especially having all the safety equipment onboard.

Due to the high risk factors that many tenders operate under having the right procedures in place is critical and remember if your tender is not attached to a parent vessel ensure it has its own dedicated Safety Management System in place.


Our number 1 tip is to ensure you have all the operational and emergency procedures in place in the parent vessels SMS or if the tender is operating without a parent vessel have its own dedicated SMS.

If you don’t have a deck/vessel Log Book you can get yours by Clicking Here and while you’re there check out our full range of Small Ship log books which were designed by a small ship mariner for small ship mariners!

So often owners, operators and/or crew members ask, “is this a marine incident and do I have to report it?”

How do you identify if it’s a marine incident?

Marine incidents are identified by relevant Australian laws and include a number of different types of incidents and may include the following:

  • Death of, or injury to, a person associated with the operation or navigation of a vessel
  • The loss or presumed loss of a vessel
  • Collision of a vessel with another vessel
  • Collision by a vessel with an object
  • The grounding, sinking, flooding or capsizing of a vessel
  • Fire on board a vessel
  • Loss of stability of a vessel that affects the safety of the vessel
  • The structural failure of a vessel
  • A close quarters situation
  • A dangerous occurrence, which is an occurrence that could have caused the death of, or serious personal injury to, any person on the vessel

They can also include:

  • An event that results in, or could have resulted in:
    • the death of, or injury to, a person on board a vessel
    • the loss of a person from a vessel
    • a vessel becoming disabled and requiring assistance
  • The fouling or damaging by a vessel of:
    • any pipeline or submarine cable
    • any aid to navigation
  • Other incidents that are prescribed by the regulations include but are not limited to:
    • failure in operation of a component of material handling equipment, whether or not a person is injured because of the failure
    • loss of cargo of a vessel
    • significant damage to a vessel
    • a seafarer is injured or contracts an illness that incapacitates them from the performance of their duty
  • Any serious danger to navigation on or near the course of the vessel.

How to report a marine incident

There are 2 steps in reporting incidents which are:

  1. As soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware of the incident you must either:
  • Complete an incident alert form 18 and submit it to AMSA online. This is for Domestic Commercial Vessels (DCV) only; or
  • Download form 19 and email the completed form to reports@amsa.gov.au
  • Note that for Regulated Australian Vessels must submit an incident alert within 4 hours.

Get this form at…


  1. Within 72 hours after becoming aware of the incident you must:
  • Complete the incident report form 19 and submit it to AMSA online; or
  • Download form 19 and email the completed form to reports@amsa.gov.au

Get this form by at…


What are your reporting obligations?

Reporting obligations are imposed by Australian laws. Other mandatory reporting requirements include requirements to report dangers to navigation and certain incidents involving people on board.

The owner or Master of a DCV must report marine incidents to AMSA. This is detailed in Sections 88 and 89 of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012, Schedule 1 (National Law)

Shorlink’s Recommendation

We can not recommend strongly enough that you report applicable marine incidents inline with the above requirements and, do it on time! If you’re not sure about if it’s an incident or whether you should report it then contact us for advice.


 While it may seem like a waste of time you must record the details of the incident in your log book as this not only a legal requirement but ensures you have accurate information when filling in incident reports. Don’t try to remember the facts a day or so later, make sure you use your log book.

Need a log book? – click here to purchase with free postage direct from Shorlink!


While conducting onboard training and auditing log books it’s become apparent that Master’s either don’t know what they are required to record in the deck log or simply just don’t care.

Marine Order 504 clearly specifies what must be recorded in your log book. Failing to record the required information may leave you exposed in the event of an incident.

Your vessels Log Book  is one of the first things an investigator will look at when investigating an incident.

If the required information is not in the log then you may have serious trouble defending yourself so make sure you record what’s required!

What MO 504 specifies as must be recorded?

The Master must ensure the following details are recorded in the vessels Log Book:

  1. Any illness or injury of persons onboard;
  2. Any marine incident, other incident or accident involving the vessel or its equipment;
  3. Any assistance rendered to another vessel;
  4. Any unusual occurrence or incident;
  5. All communications/messages sent or received for an emergency;
  6. Any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes.

What we recommend as additional information?

  1. Time of departure and arrival;
  2. Time of any passenger briefing where passengers are carried;
  3. New crew inductions and training;
  4. Time of induction of any other persons onboard. This may be contractors, technicians, observers or any other person;
  5. Proposed destination or course;
  6. Summary of weather conditions on departure;
  7. Position at regular intervals;
  8. Any major changes in weather conditions;
  9. Bunkering if not recorded elsewhere;
  10. Dispensing of medical supplies if not recorded elsewhere
  11. Ongoing emergency training;
  12. Any safety issues

While all this sounds like a lot of writing it only takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it.

By keeping a detailed Log Book, you are effectively providing a layer of protection for yourself when an incident occurs.

Many Masters say to me that they’re too busy to do this, but my response is a few seconds every couple of hours can save you days or even months in court defending yourself!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our primary recommendation is to ensure you record all of the requirements of MO 504 and we strongly recommend recording all new crew inductions, your position at regular intervals, any noticeable changes in weather and passenger inductions where applicable.

These few items are going to be a big help in the event of a marine incident and possibly time and money in legal costs.


Our number one recommendations is to get in the habit of keeping your Log Book up to date at all times because you never know when you may need it.

Log Books Deck Log Book

Vessel Log Books are a necessity but there are so many variations out there in size, format and levels of complexity. This is why we developed our Log Book in an easy-to-use format with only the necessary requirements to make recording your information easy. So many of our clients and non-clients have switched to our easy-to-use Log Book, why don’t you?