New Standards for Commercial Vessels

NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi has announced that new technical standards for the design, construction and operation of commercial vessels will come into effect from the beginning of October.
Mr Tripodi said the new standards have been developed in conjunction with industry.
A revision of the Uniform Shipping Laws (USL) Code, the USL Code 2008 as it will be known, is being introduced nationally under the Commonwealth Navigation Act 1912.
“The code will provide greater flexibility for commercial vessel operators while reinforcing a culture of boating safety in NSW,” Mr Tripodi said.   
“Boat building in Australia is a sunrise industry using high levels of skilled labour.
“Greater uniformity of building standards across the States will help boat builders grow their trade and reduce costs through economies of scale.
“The new sections describe how parts of a vessel must perform but allow a builder or operator a choice as to how to achieve this outcome.
“They may use the prescribed solution in the Code, or propose an equivalent solution subject to approval by NSW Maritime,” Mr Tripodi said.
The new code is the product of work by the National Marine Safety Committee, made up of all State and Territory maritime authorities, with the aim of achieving a uniform design and construction standard in the
commercial boating sector.
The USL Code 2008 is the first step towards the introduction of the National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV).  As sections of the NSCV are completed over coming years, they will be progressively implemented.
Mr Tripodi said the new parts of the NSCV incorporated into USL Code 2008 will cover:
• Structural fire protection;  
• Engineering;
• Fuel tank construction;
• Use of LPG fuel;

• Fuel tank construction;
• Use of LPG fuel;
• Medical equipment;
• Safety equipment;
• Fast craft; and
• Electrical wiring.
“These new standards provide modern up-to-date requirements for commercial vessels,” Mr Tripodi said.
“Where ever possible the new standards refer to appropriate Australian or International standards for individual items.”
USL Code 2008 was endorsed by the Australian Transport Council (ATC) on October 2007, and gazetted by the Commonwealth under the Navigation Act 1912 on May 30, 2008 to take effect from October 1 2008.
The USL Code 2008 will apply to new commercial vessels and will be implemented as follows:
• Commercial vessels with design approval applications lodged prior to  October 1,  2008 may continue to be built according to the existing USL Code (construction must begin prior to October 1, 2011);
• Vessels with prototype approval prior to October 1, 2008 may continue to be built for the duration of the approval provided there is no change to the design; and
• For design approval applications lodged on or after October 1, 2008 the USL Code 2008 will apply.
Almost 10,000 commercial vessels currently operate in NSW.  
A downloadable version of the USL Code 2008 is available from the National Marine Safety Committee’s website  
For further information regarding the new USL Code 2008 please call NSW Maritime 9563 8777 or email