Certificate of Operation - Victoria

Service summary

You must apply for a Certificate of Operation if you intend to use a vessel for commercial purposes. Any commercial vessel operating without a Certificate of Operation is operating illegally.

A domestic commercial vessel can be used in connection with a commercial, government or research purpose. Commercial vessels are defined as being able to move by water by any means of propulsion such as:

  • air-cushion vehicles
  • barges
  • lighters
  • submersibles
  • ferries in chains
  • wing-in-ground effect craft.

A Certificate of Operation will be issued to a person, or business, who can demonstrate competency and capacity in relation to the safe operation of domestic commercial vessels.

Please note that an existing vessel Safety Operation Certificate issued by Transport Safety Victoria prior to 1 July 2013 will be recognised as the Certificate of Operation under the new national system. However, all renewals must be made as a Certificate of Operation.

Please consult the responsible agency for more information and to ascertain the level of compliance (if any) that may be required.

Service type


A licence defines the need to obtain recognition / certification and registration to undertake a certain business activity.

Eligibility requirements

Conditions that apply on a Certificate of Operation are:

  • The number of crew required to be on board for the vessel to be operated;
  • The qualifications of the master and crew;
  • The number of people that may be on board;
  • The physical condition of the vessel;
  • Safety management systems;
  • Limitations on the geographical use of the vessel;
  • Operating hours; and
  • Compliance with standards.

Please consult the responsible agency for more information regarding eligibility requirements.



Please consult the responsible agency for information on fees to be submitted.

Administering agency

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Transport Safety Victoria

Act(s) name

Marine (Domestic Commercial Vessel National Law Application) Act 2013 (Victoria)

Contact details

Maritime Safety
Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Transport Safety Victoria

Operating address:
121 Exhibition Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Mailing address:
GPO BOX 2797
Melbourne, Victoria 3001


1800 223 022

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.