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Seafarers’ hours of rest 

General rules

Seafarers must have at least 10 hours of rest in a 24-hour period, and at least 6 of these hours must be consecutive. The 10 hours must not be divided into more than 2 periods of rest, and there must not be more than 14 hours between the periods of rest. Absence from work will count as rest only if it has a duration of at least 1 hour. Seafarers’ total weekly hours of rest must be at least 77 hours. All periods of rest are included in these 77 hours.

A workday is a 24-hour period that commences the first time a seafarer starts working on a calendar day. A week is a consecutive 7-day period. The Danish Maritime Authority can permit daily and weekly hours of rest to be calculated within the calendar day (00.00-24.00 hours).

Exemption by collective agreement

Watchkeeping seafarers or seafarers working on ships engaged on short voyages (such as ferry crossings) can be entitled to shorter hours of rest. This is, however, conditional upon the existence of a collective agreement providing compensation such as more time off, time off in lieu of wages or the like. At the same time, the agreement must also pay due consideration to seafarers’ health and safety.

Special collective agreements must not be used until they have been reported to the Danish Maritime Authority. Such reporting requires that the agreements ensure seafarers at least 6 consecutive hours of rest a day, that the reduction takes place on no more than 2 consecutive days, and that the weekly hours of rest are at least 70 hours.


More than 60 exemption agreements have been reported, a list of which is available in Danish.

Deviations in special cases

The master of the ship can deviate from the stipulation on hours of rest in unforeseen emergencies, for example when this is necessary for the immediate safety of the ship, those on board or the cargo or in order to assist other ships or persons in distress at sea. As soon as possible, the master must ensure that the seafarer gets a sufficient period of rest.

Who is covered?

The regulations on hours of rest apply to ordinary and not ordinary seafarers as well as to a certain extent to the ship’s master. For seafarers below the age of 18 stricter regulations apply.


Recording of hours of rest

Tables of shipboard working arrangements must be posted on board in an easily accessible place, and seafarers’ periods of rest must be recorded in a special record of hours of rest. The Danish Maritime Authority has issued tables of shipboard working arrangements and records of hours of rest in standard format. If a shipping company wants another design, this must be approved by the Danish Maritime Authority for reasons of international control. However, this does not apply to ships exclusively engaged on voyages between Danish ports where all the time spent on board is working time.

Guidelines on the recording of hours of rest.
The standard forms are available here:

Model format for table of shipboard working arrangements
Record of hours of rest of seafarers in Danish ships


If you want to know more about the regulations on hours of rest, you can read Order no. 515 of 21 June 2002 as amended in 2008.

Always remember the following
  • The regulations on hours of rest must be met to ensure health and safety on board.
  • The regulations on hours of rest must always form part of the planning of the work on board.
  • It is possible to deviate from the regulations on hours of rest only in very special, unforeseen situations. Subsequently, the master of the ship must ensure that the seamen concerned get sufficient rest.
  • The shipowner and the master of the ship are responsible that the ship is at any time sufficiently manned to meet the regulations on hours of rest.
  • Information on hours of rest can be recorded and stored electronically. However, this must be approved by the Danish Maritime Authority beforehand.


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