From time to time the relevant Authorities will carry out inspections on vessels while they are at sea. The WCBIA members support the Authorities efforts to ensure that the charter boat industry as a whole complies with the various regulations.
However concern has been raised that the boarding of vessels at sea by armed authorities can be both disruptive and frightening for guests and crew if not managed properly. A poorly managed boarding can leave guests with less than a desirable view of the way that the Australian Authorities view the charter boat industry and the respect that the Authorities have for our tourists.
As a result of concern raised by the WCBIA members a meeting was arranged between the WCBIA executive, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and the Water Police. The following boarding policy and procedures were agreed to by all parties.
BOARDING BY AGENCY OFFICER(S) VESSEL POLICY:
It is in the best interest of all parties, that the master and boarding officers collaborate to ensure least distress to passengers and crew at all times.
BOARDING BY AGENCY OFFICER(S) VESSEL PROCEDURE:
Should a party of or representative of regulatory agency request to board a vessel, the Master of the Vessel will:
Request and site appropriate identification of each of the officers prior to permitting boarding. Each officers name, identification and authority shall be recorded in the ships log.
Confer directly with the officers to ascertain the nature of the inspection.
Inform both crew and passengers of the reason for boarding, prior to any activities/inspection being undertaken by the officers.
Ensure that crew, passengers and vessel are safe as a matter of duty of care i.e. no activities are being conducted (e.g. SCUBA diving) that will place any individual or the vessel at risk during the course of the inspection/boarding.
Have a designated crew member accompany an officer at all times, particularly below deck.
Advise a land base of boarding (Optional).
In the case of boarding officer(s):
Prior to boarding, officers will produce appropriate identification to the master.
On boarding, officers, prior to inspection will inform, or instruct the master to inform crew and passengers of the purpose and approximate duration of the inspection.
Officers will be accompanied by a crew member designated by the master to accompany them to the required sections of the vessel, particularly below deck.