Skip links and keyboard navigation

Ship insurance

Legislation requires all ships over 15m (for example 15.01m) in length overall* to have enough insurance to pay for potential pollution clean up, salvage and wreck removal.

The insurance policy must meet the following requirements:
  • All recreational ships more than 15m but less than 35m in length must have an insurance policy that provides A$250,000 for pollution clean up and A$10,000,000 for salvage and wreck removal.
  • All commercial ships more than 15m but less than 35m in length must have an insurance policy that provides A$500,000 for pollution clean up costs and A$10,000,000 for salvage and wreck removal.
  • All ships 35m or more in length must have a policy that provides A$10,000,000 for pollution clean up costs, salvage and wreck removal.

Ships visiting Queensland coastal waters are also required to comply with the legislation. Temporary insurance cover may be necessary if existing insurance coverage does not meet the above requirements.

A current certificate of insurance must be carried onboard and be available for inspection by compliance officers. Penalties apply for non-compliance.

For those ships which cannot reasonably obtain insurance, the ship owner may be able to seek an exemption to the insurance requirement. In such cases the ship owner must apply to Maritime Safety Queensland. For further information on how to apply for an exemption, see the reference document and Ship Insurance Exemption Application form.

For further information contact a Maritime Safety Queensland regional office.


*Extract from Transport Operations (Marine Pollution) Act 1995 Part 1 Preliminary:

7a Meaning of length overall

(1) The length overall of a ship is the distance in the fore and aft line from the foremost part of the hull of the ship to the aftermost part of the hull of the ship taken at the upper weather tight deck or, for an open ship, at the height of the gunwale.

(2) However, the length overall of the ship does not include the length of appendages to the hull.

For example, a bowsprit or boarding platform is not taken into account when measuring the length overall of a ship.

Last updated
24 August 2017