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Passenger Vessel , MV Rum Runner
Transitional Vessel Survey

The catamaran MV Rum Runner operates as a passenger vessel in the rivers and precincts of Moreton Bay including the Gold Coast Broadwater, South Stradbroke and the Sovereign Islands.  Maritime Survey Australia Surveyor, Mick Uberti completed a Transitional Vessel Survey on this beautifully maintained vessel at her home port of Hope Harbour.

MV Rum Runner MSA Project

Built in 1997 by Nustar Catamarans in NSW, she is a GRP class 1E passenger boat surveyed to carry 49 passengers and up to 3 crew. Notably, the MV Rum Runner can operate as both a displacement and planing vessel, getting up on the plane at around 12 knots and cruises comfortably at 15 knots with up to 15 people on board.  With a full load of 49 passengers and 3 crew, the boat comfortably cruises in displacement mode at around 10 knots.

She is powered by two Honda BF150  2354 cc  4 stroke, long shaft, outboard engines controlled with a Seastar twin outboard 2 cylinder hydraulic steering system. The catamaran design provides a shallow draft resulting in a smooth and stable ride, whilst her spacious interior and excellent visibility offers passengers an unforgettable sightseeing experience .

For more information, or to book a your Gold Coast and South Straddie charter, please visit

As the vessel owner now wishes to change the area of operation and/or class, the vessel now becomes a “transitional vessel”.  AMSA Marine Order 503 specifies when a vessel becomes a transitional vessel, which may include a change of class, change in operational area, commences carriage of dangerous goods, commences overnight berthed accommodation operations, an increase in persons carried onboard, increase in propulsive power, change in lightship and modifications and/or additions to the vessel specified in Marine Order 503.   Additionally, if the vessel’s Certificate of Survey has expired and has not been renewed for a period greater than 2 years, that vessel also becomes a transitional vessel.

Depending on which of these changes apply to the vessel, Marine Order 503 specifies which Initial Surveys the vessel must undertake and which standards apply. This may include Plan Approval, Stability Approval, Initial Survey Inspections and Sea Trials. This may require updates to plans or the stability booklet and will require the surveys to be undertaken by an AMSA Accredited surveyor.

Prior to the introduction of the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 the vessel Rum Runner was not required to have a Certificate of Survey.  This is because different states and territories in Australia had different pathways to compliance for commercial vessels.  Some vessels required an initial survey, some didn’t, some were required to have a certificate of survey, some didn’t and so on. This does not mean they are substandard vessels, it just means they were treated differently.

To provide a consistent approach across Australia, AMSA (National Law) decided to issue vessel operators of what was considered commercial vessels, a Certificate of Operation (COO) only. This allows those vessel operators to continue to operate as a commercial vessel in their area of operation. When or if the vessel operator decides to change the area of operation, the operator will be required to make application for a Certificate of Survey (COS). There are other “triggers” that may make the vessel a transitional vessel such as replacing the main engine with a larger KW, increasing passenger numbers and a change in the vessel light ship status to name a few – see Marine Order 503 for more details – in this case for the Rum Runner it was a change of operation.

If the vessel operator still has the original stamped drawings, stability book and build information this process is less onerous. If not compliance can be challenging.

Transitional vessels are required to comply with some sections of the NSCV and contemporary safety equipment standards.  MSA Surveyors begin this process with a gap analysis to determine if there are any show stoppers before we begin and ensure it is worth while. All the requirements are then tabled in a survey requirements letter and you are guided through process.

Do you have a vessel that is in need of a Transitional Vessel Survey?

Contact Maritime Survey Australia today
to discuss your project requirements.

Under AMSA changes which came into effect on the 1st of January 2018, a domestic commercial vessel owner can make certain changes to an existing vessel without having to meet all the standards that apply to a new vessel.  

More information can be found on the Marine Order 503—Existing vessel transitional vessel concept flowchart.

Our Marine Surveyors are accredited with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), members of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) and members of the certifying authority of the International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS).

We believe we have the most competitive rates offering the best value to Victorian commercial vessel operators. The benefits of using Maritime Survey Australia ensure that the vessel operator has to engage with only one company. Unlike many of our competitors, our Surveyors are experienced Marine Engineers, Masters and Naval Architects accredited for ALL categories including periodic electrical and communication meaning you do not need to engage with a third party to complete the survey.

The survey is carried out accurately interpreting standards and guidelines, and applying rules and/or regulatory requirements.

The owner will be informed of any deficiencies discovered during the survey of a vessel that requires repair, replacement or action and will be recorded on a survey activity report, a copy of which will be given the owner or owner’s representative at the time of the survey. We will remain impartial in all of our business dealings, and we will never conduct business in a manner which could place our business integrity or impartiality at risk or question.

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