Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 - Queensland

Service summary

The object of this Act is to establish a regime which will regulate the maritime industry to ensure marine safety and (at the same time) increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the maritime industry and its administration in Queensland.

The Act applies to all ships connected with Queensland or in Queensland waters (except where provisions of the Navigation Act 1912 (Commonwealth) apply).

The Act imposes safety obligations and provides for the making of standards and regulations on marine safety.

It also provides for the registration of ships, the licensing of ships masters and crew and the accreditation of ship designers, ship builders and marine surveyors.

It further provides for the appointment of harbour masters and shipping inspectors, sets out their powers and functions and prescribes the procedures to be followed when a marine incident occurs.

The following Subordinate Legislation should be examined:

  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2004
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Commercial and Fishing Ships Miscellaneous Equipment) Standard 2006
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Designing and Building Commercial and Fishing Ships) Standard 2006
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Accreditation as Ship Designer, Ship Builder and Marine Surveyor) Standard 2006
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Recreational Ships Miscellaneous Equipment) Standard 2006
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Bareboat Ships) Standard 2007
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Hire and Drive Ships) Standard 2007
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Parasailing) Standard 2007
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Examining and Training Program Approvals (Recreational Ships and Personal Watercraft)) Standard 2007
  • Transport Operations (Marine Safety Examining and Training (Commercial and Fishing Ships)) Standard 2007

The following Guides or Booklets are available:

  • Queensland Recreation Boating and Fishing Guide 2011-2012
  • BoatSafe Workbook Edition 4
  • Commercial and Fishing Ships Operational Handbook Second Edition
  • Safety Management System and Diary and Log
  • Small Ships Manual Edition 6
  • Beacon to Beacon Edition 8


  • Licensing Registration and Safety Equipment
  • Dont go overboard overloading your boat
  • Marine Communications
  • Ride Smart(PWC)
  • Waterskiing & Freshwater Boating
  • Collision rules & buoys, marks & beacons
  • Marine Pollution
  • Freshwater Boating.

Service type

Regulatory Obligation

An obligation defined in law. A business must comply with relevant services.

Definition of terms

Connected with Queensland

A ship is 'connected with Queensland' if any of the following apply:

  • it is registered under the Shipping Registration Act 1981 (Commonwealth) with a home port in Queensland
  • it is, or is required to be, registered or licensed under this or another Act
  • it is owned or chartered by
    1. an individual whose place of residence, or principal place of residence, is in Queensland
    2. a person whose place of business, or principal place of business, is in Queensland
    3. a person whose principal place of business for managing the ship's operations is in Queensland
  • it is a ship declared by regulation to be connected with Queensland.
Marine incident

An event causing or involving any of the following: 

  • the loss of a person from a ship
  • the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person caused by a ship's operations
  • the loss or presumed loss or abandonment of a ship
  • a collision with a ship
  • the stranding of a ship
  • material damage to a ship
  • material damage caused by a ship's operations
  • danger to a person caused by a ship's operations
  • danger of serious damage to a ship
  • danger of serious damage to a structure caused by a ship's operations.
  1. A Ship is any kind of boat or other vessel used, or intended to be used, in navigation by water or for any other purpose on water.
  2. Without limiting subsection the above, a ship includes a boat or other vessel
    1. whatever its size
    2. however it is propelled or moved
    3. whether it is on land or in water.
  3. A ship includes, for example
    1. a barge, lighter or other floating vessel
    2. a hovercraft or other surface effect craft.
  4. A ship does not include a vessel declared by regulation not to be a ship.
  5. A Regulation may provide that a ship includes an aircraft when it is on water or is taking off, or landing on, water.
  6. Except as provided by a regulation under subsection (5), a ship does not include an aircraft.
  7. A reference to a ship includes the ship's equipment.


Appeal process


Compliance Mechanisms and Penalties:

Shipping inspectors appointed under the Act have powers to monitor and enforce compliance with the Act.

Harbour masters also have powers to issue and carry out directions to ensure compliance with the Act.

Fines may be imposed for breaches of the legislation. Indictable offences are prosecuted in a Magistrates Court and may result in fines or imprisonment.

Licences, registrations and accreditations may be suspended or cancelled under procedures prescribed by regulation.

Review or Appeal Mechanisms:

An appeal may be made to a District Court against a decision relating to:

  • the registration of a ship;
  • a certificate of compliance or survey for a ship;
  • licensing or accreditation of persons under the Act.

Appeals may be made to a Magistrates Court against other decisions although certain decisions cannot be appealed or reviewed.

In the event that a matter cannot be resolved at a regional level, it should be referred to the Manager, Policy Implementation and Support on telephone (07) 3120 7354.

Administering agency

Maritime Safety Queensland
Safety Standards Branch

Contact details

Maritime Safety Queensland
Safety Standards Branch

Operating address:
Level 22, Mineral House, 41 George Street
Queensland 4000
Mailing address:
GPO Box 2595
Queensland 4001


07 3120 7360


07 3120 7356


Maritime Safety Queensland Opens in a new browser window

Supporting information


The information contained on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) web site, or via packages or other sources is intended for general guidance only.

To the full extent permitted by law, the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments make no representations or warranties (expressed or implied) in relation to the information, including its accuracy, currency or completeness.

The business information provided does not constitute professional or legal advice, nor is the use of any third party resource an endorsement of the information contained, the associated organisation, product or service. It is recommended that you obtain appropriate professional and /or independent legal advice to ensure that the material provided here is relevant to your particular circumstances.

To the full extent permitted by law the Federal, State, Territory and Local Governments, their employees and agents do not accept any liability for any reason, including without limitation, liability in negligence, to any person for the general information which is provided herein, or in respect of anything, including the consequences of anything done, or not done, by any such person in whole or partial reliance upon the information.