Tag Archive for: Fishing

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!

Operating a hire and drive business can be rewarding but it also comes with many risks as you are dealing with the general public, most of which have little or no boating experience.

While this article is primarily aimed at hire and drive/bare boat operators it should take note as it raises many facts that apply to all vessel operators.

Hire and drive operators are required to comply with Schedules 1 and 2 of Marine Order 504 and have in place a documented Safety Management System that meets those requirements.

The general public a wide range of choices when it comes to hire and drive activities including:

  • Paddle craft
  • Runabouts
  • Jetski’s
  • Houseboats
  • Sailing craft

All of these provide the participants with the opportunity to undertake their desired on-water activity but for the operator it presents an income stream which comes with many inherent risks.

Risks that include damage to vessels, participant’s, other people, infrastructure and the environment all of which have the potential to cost you money!

 Here’s a couple of examples…

A number of inexperience tourists hired kayaks from a commercial hire and drive operator and unable to resist the strong currents they drifted away from shore.

One of the kayaks overturned throwing two people into the water. This along with the fact they ended up well away from where they hired the kayaks had the potential to end in disaster. Fortunately, they were rescued and suffered no injuries other than their pride.

A jetski operator who had a group together preparing for a tour had 2 incidents occur within minutes of each other, both with the potential to end in serious injury and damage to the jetski’s.

One of the incidents involved an inexperienced participant shooting forward and colliding with a berthed vessel. Luckily, the person involved suffered no injuries but the jetski was damaged.

What do both of these examples tell you?

  1. The safety inductions for participant’s were most likely not sufficient;
  2. The observers and/or tour leaders were not paying sufficient attention to the participant’s;
  3. Measures to ensure participants safety were not followed;
  4. The operators either failed to provide their staff with a full induction to their safety management system including the procedures; or
  5. They didn’t have a safety management system in place with the appropriate procedures.

How to ensure safety?

It’s no good just saying they have a ticket, so they know what to do, the fact is you don’t know for sure they know your operations. Below is 5 simple steps to help ensure safety:

  1. The first step to ensuring safety for you and your business and all participant’s is to have in place a documented safety management system with all operational and emergency procedures;
  2. Ensure you induct and train all of your staff involved in vessel operations;
  3. Continually monitor their performance;
  4. Provide a detailed safety briefing for all participants prior to departure;
  5. Have in place a procedure for monitoring all participants.

If you have all of the above steps in place then your well on your way to be a safe operation. Note that all of the information provided herein is not only relevant to hire and drive operators but in general applies to all commercial operations!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is to review your operational and emergency procedures to ensure they are accurate and reflect your current operations and, if you don’t have a documented Safety Management System (SMS) get onto it NOW.

Then ensure all your staff responsible for vessels operations are fully inducted and trained accordingly and continue to monitor their performance. This is the only way you’re going to be able to protect yourself and your business in the event of an incident!


My best tip is if you have an existing SMS have it assessed by someone who can give you real feedback, not just on does it tick the AMSA box, but will it stand up to a legal challenge. We provide a free SMS assessment service through to a full Audit of your system.

If you don’t have an SMS in place then you need to contact us immediately to get one underway. With several hundred of our SMS’s out there already you know we can deliver one for you that ticks the AMSA box and will stand up to a legal challenge!

Do you operate a declared ship?

A declared ship is a domestic commercial vessel which has a fixed toilet or toilets and is designed to carry more than 12 passengers. If you fit into this category you’re required to have a Sewage Discharge Log Book and a Sewage Management Plan. Why not use our Small Ships Sewage Discharge Log Book which meets all the government requirement. Check it out here. We can even develop your Sewage Management Plan.