Among the many question we get another common one is “what is a DP?”

DP stands for Designated Person which used to be called Designated Person Ashore (DPA) but for DCV’s a DP can be the owner operator and may be onboard when at sea.

Section 4 of Marine Order 504 specifies:

“The owner of a vessel must designate a person to be responsible for monitoring the safety of the vessel, the environment and all persons on or near the vessel and ensuring appropriate resources and shore support are provided to the vessel.”

What’s required to be a DP?

Ideally a DP will have a solid working knowledge of the vessel, its operations and crew requirements so as to be able to provide appropriate assistance and/or advice to the crew in the event of an emergency situation.

While this is the ideal situation it’s not always possible for owner operators as they are usually the ones that have all the knowledge about their vessel and operations. In these situations its quite often the wife or partner who is listed as the DP.

Larger organisations and multi-vessel operators usually have someone who is up to speed with the organisations vessels and operations and is listed as the DP. These people usually have the knowledge and resources to deal with emergency situation efficiently.

No matter whether you’re a single vessel operator or operate multiple vessels your DP must have the owners authority and resources to act in emergency situations involving the safety of the vessel, all persons onboard, infra structure and the environment.

And the good part is to ensure your DP is available at all times when your vessel is operating which for many operators this means 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! If you’re a DP you must answer all calls from the vessels when they are operational, the safety of the vessel and/or persons onboard may depend on it!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Ensure your DP has the appropriate authority to act in the event of an emergency situation as well as the resources that may be needed.

Have a list of emergency contact numbers ready including emergency services (Police, Ambulance and Fire) 000 and any other numbers that can assist in specific situations; e.g., mechanics, volunteer marine rescue organisations, etc.


Our best tip is to have an alternative DP listed in your SMS in the event the primary DP is unavailable for any reason whatsoever.

If you and your partner take holidays together and you’re listed as primary and alternative DP’s then you may have an issue with who deals with an emergency situation if both parties are absent.

A safety alert was issued after an incident in which a pressurised fire extinguisher was ruptured and travelled through the air for 300 metres!

Although this happened on a demolition site it could easily happen when undertaking refits or repairs onboard your vessel or workplace.

A machinery operator was using a hydraulic shear attachment to cut fire suppression pipes into sections by pulling lengths from the pile, cutting them and placing the cut sections to one side.

The operator did not see the pressurised fire extinguisher and cut it in half. The bottom section of the extinguisher travelled through the air and crashed through the roof of a warehouse approximately 300 metres away.

It landed in a laydown areas that was not being used at the time and no-one was hurt, thankfully!

While this may sound a bit amusing the reality is that someone could have been seriously injured or even died as a result.

This not only applies to fire extinguishers, but it also applies to all pressurised vessels. All pressurised vessels should be treated with care as they all present potential dangers. Below is a burst air compressor tank and a propane tank which exploded.

Both of these could have resulted in major injuries not to mention loss of lives.

When undertaking a re-fit workers are often subject to tight timeframes and can easily overlook a fire extinguisher or other pressurised vessel on the other side of a bulkhead they are cutting or drilling through. The same goes for factories and other workplaces.

Remember, it’s not just cutting a pressurised vessel that can rupture them they can be ruptured by drilling, items falling on them or any number of other causes.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Top of the list for recommendations is to take the time to ensure there are no pressurised vessels that may be impacted by the work you’re undertaking.

Check on the other side of bulkheads and decks to make sure all is clear, not only of pressurised vessels but other potential hazards. Here’s a quick check list:

  1. Ensure there is a system in place to ensure no pressurised vessels are in areas where they may be ruptured
  2. Where they are present, remove them to a safer location out of the way
  3. Ensure all workers are trained to recognise pressurised vessels and the requirements to move them out of the way
  4. Ensure workers are aware of the consequences if pressurised vessels are ruptured
  5. Ensure all other potential hazards are identified and dealt with


You don’t want to be responsible for injuries to yourself or others. Worse still you don’t need to be the cause of lives being lost, one of which could be yours!

My best tip is to make sure no pressurised vessels or other potential hazards are removed prior to starting work.

Anyone whose been at sea knows that everyday is perfect, right. The reality is that we all have to face adverse weather conditions at times no matter if you operate in open waters, bays or rivers.

It’s not just those at sea that have to deal with adverse weather, shore-based workers have to deal with it in many cases.

Adverse weather is the result of “high or strong gusting winds” which are often associated with very low-pressure systems, thunderstorms, squalls, willy-willies, mini cyclones and cyclones.

At sea all of the above affect the ocean which in turn impacts on the vessel, all persons onboard and the operations.

Working on deck in these conditions can be and is dangerous and requires crew to take extra care during these times. The more sever the conditions the more care you need to exercise.

Working on commercial fishing vessels you must be on high alert when hauling trawl nets, retrieving loneliness or traps and when hand-lining. You need to remain vigilant of your surroundings and those on deck with you.

On vessels that carry passengers such as recreational fishing operators, dive charters, ferries and vehicle transport barges your primary concern is about passenger safety. This in itself can be challenging due to seasickness and passenger movement around the vessel.

Dumb barges offer a whole range of other challenges as they are either on anchor or being towed which brings tugs into the picture and adds a range of other potential dangers.

While we all try to avoid cyclones, the fact is that there are times when you simply can’t which places you, the vessel and all those onboard in a highly dangerous situation.

If you find yourself in this situation it’s critical that you know what to do, are prepared and have appropriate procedures in place. And it’s not just at sea where we need to worry, what about shore-based operations. Storm surge is a major problem for all.

No matter what level of adverse weather you find yourself in you need to be prepared and well equipped to deal with it not only for your safety but for all those onboard and the vessel.

WorkSafe issued a safety warning which urged employers (this also applies to vessel Masters) to ensure their worksites (this also includes vessels) are secured when potentially damaging winds are approaching.

Loose objects need to be removed from exposed areas or suitably secured to prevent them becoming projectiles. Here’s a quick check list.

•Monitor weather conditions continuously

•Check forecasts regularly

•Ensure loose items are secured appropriately

•Cease crane operations when the wind speed exceeds the manufacturer’s specified limit

•Do not operate hoisting equipment (personnel or equipment) in high or gusty winds, refer to manufacturer’s guidelines

•Ensure tools and other equipment are stowed appropriately

•Wear eye protection to prevent foreign particles blowing into the eyes

•Wear hard hats where falling objects are a hazard and ensure the chin strap is worn

Shorlink’s Recommendation

It is highly recommended that you have an appropriate procedure for adverse weather in your Safety Management System based on your operations. If you work in areas that are subject to cyclones a procedure for cyclone should also be in place.

Without these procedures in place you put yourself at risk in the event of an incident during adverse weather conditions, especially cyclones so make sure you have them in place.


Make sure everything is secured appropriately giving consideration to your operations and the prevailing and predicated weather.

The one area that we stress in in the galley because there’s usually a lot of “unsecured” items which can easily turn into projectiles and cause serious injury.

The other area for passenger vessels is the cafeteria if there’s one due to the reasons above but with added for potential injuries to passengers