Tag Archive for: Log Book

When undertaking recent audits on vessels it became clear that many Masters’ either forgot or didn’t know the full extent of their responsibilities.

While most, and I say most Master’s know how to operate the vessel many have not kept up to date with current requirements such as keeping log books, running drills, recording inductions and training, etc.

In this day and age is critical to ensure your paperwork is up to date at all times. Should an incident occur and its not recorded in the log book or reported (reportable incidents only) then you could be in big trouble.

Section 5 of Marine Order 504 states that the Master has a responsibility for ensuring that operational requirements are being complied with. Operational requirements is not just driving the vessel it includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Complying with the organisations policies
  2. Implementing the vessels Safety Management System (SMS)
  3. Following all of the operational procedures and emergency procedures
  4. Inducting new crew members onto the vessel and the SMS
  5. Undertaking regular ongoing training (drills) to ensure all crew members are competent in dealing with emergency situations
  6. Recording all drills appropriately
  7. Maintaining the vessels Log Book
  8. Ensuring the vessel, machinery and equipment are operated properly and well maintained
  9. Identifying repairs and/or maintenance that needs to be addressed
  10. Ensuring maintenance records are maintained and up to date at all times
  11. Maintaining passenger records (passenger vessels only)
  12. Documenting and reporting marine incidents to AMSA


Vessels Deck Log Book

This is one of areas most neglected by many Masters and it’s the one area that can cause major issues if not completed properly. Section 11 in MO504 specifies that a log book must include details of the following:

  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 and messages sent or received for an emergency;
  6. all passenger counts conducted for the vessel;
  7. any operation of the vessel for recreational purposes.

So many log books we’ve reviewed fall short on so many points.


Reporting Marine Incidents

This is another area that often gets overlooked which can have serious repercussions to both the Master and vessel owner.

There are two (2) forms that should be completed as soon as is reasonably practicable following the incident and these are:

  1. Incident alert (Form 18)

This form alerts AMSA that there has been a marine incident and can be filled in online but must be completed and submitted to reports@amsa.gov.au by the owner or master as soon as reasonably practicable* after becoming aware of the incident.

Go to Form 18 by clicking on this link: amsa-18-incident-alert-form.pdf

  1. Incident Report (Form 19)

This form provides all the details about the incident, vessels involved and any injuries and must be completed by the owner or Master and submitted to reports@amsa.gov.au within 72 hours of the incident. Go to Form 19 by clicking on this link amsa-19-incident-report-form.pdf

If you would like to find out more about marine incident reporting by clicking on the link below.

Marine incident reporting (amsa.gov.au)

Marine pollution must also be reported. Find out more about pollution reporting by clicking on this link General marine pollution reporting (amsa.gov.au)

If you employ crew, including Masters you should have your own specific requirements for your Master or Masters’ but there are legal responsibilities every Master must comply with.

The Master has the overriding authority and responsibility to make decisions with respect to safety and pollution prevention.

Note that means when operational and does not mean that the Master can make changes to policies and/or procedures without the approval of the owner. Also be aware that if changes are made they must be recorded in the appropriate manner.


Top recommendation is ensure you or your Masters’ know exactly what their responsibilities are and what’s expected of them. if you’re the Master it’s up to you to ensure you comply will all the current requirements.

If you’re a vessel owner and engage Masters’ then it is your responsibility to ensure all Masters’ know exactly what is expected of them and their requirements to ensure full compliance.


If you engage Masters’ under an agreement or contract of any kind you must ensure they are fully aware of the responsibilities and conditions in their contract. Too many Masters’ will sign a document without reading it first. Best tip is to help them out and go through it in detail with them. this can save a lot of potential problems down the road.

Need a Log Book? Click Here for our range of Log Books that were ‘designed by a mariner for a mariner’ with Free Postage!

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!

Note that while this article refers to a road vehicle it could have quite easily been a vessel!

A firm in Victoria has been convicted and fined $300,000 after a worker was permanently disabled in a gas bottle explosion.

The company pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court to failing to provide a work environment that was safe and without risks to health and failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.

The court heard a company vehicle caught on fire when gas bottles containing acetylene and oxygen, which were being transported from a supplier, exploded in the vehicle’s fully enclosed toolbox.

The court also heard the two gas bottles had been placed unsecured and on their side as the ute’s enclosed canopy was too low to allow the worker to place them in an upright position.

This allowed acetylene vapour and air to mix and explode.

A witness to the incident said the fire damaged overhead powerlines and nearby cars, while other gas bottles in the ute also ignited.

About 12 people attended the scene and attempted to put the fire out and rescue the driver from the vehicle.

The worker requires a wheelchair and has memory loss as a result of multiple traumatic, physical and mental injuries.

The court heard the company failed to have a system of work in place for the transportation of gas bottles, including adequate ventilation and ensuring the bottles were properly secured and upright when moved.

Procedures for handling highly flammable chemicals like acetylene gas could not be left to chance, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen.

“A worker will be dealing with horrific physical and mental injuries from this incident for the rest of their lives,” Nielsen said.

“This incident should serve as a reminder to all employers, contractors and tradies that they need to ensure dangerous goods are handled with care.

“Where gas bottles are used as part of a business it is essential that employers put health and safety first, because the consequences of not doing so can be catastrophic.”

Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) bottles also present potential hazards as LPG is 1.5 – 2.0 times heavier than air.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Always ensure gas bottles are stored and/or transported in accordance with their Safety Data Sheet (SDS) at all times.

Secondly ensure there is appropriate ventilation to prevent gas build ups and the potential for an explosion.


Always have fire extinguishers on-site and available where acetylene, LPG and other gas bottles containing flammable gas are stored or used.

Acetylene cylinder general handling guidelines:

  1. Always use or have access to protective clothing and equipment
  2. Keep cylinders away from flammable substances
  3. Acetylene cylinders should always be stored upright with the valve in the upward position
  4. The cylinder should always be kept closed when not in use
  5. The cylinders need to be protected from potential mechanical and physical damages


Log Books

While not a log book as such a Fire Safety Manual is a requirement for a number of vessels including certain passenger vessels, vessels transporting dangerous goods and others. Shorlink can develop a Fire Safety Manual to suit your operations

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!