Small passenger ships

On this page, you will get more information about the Danish Maritime Authority's surveys of small Danish passenger ships. Typically, small passenger ships are engaged on domestic voyages and have two to six crew members on board.

Survey contents

In 2014, the Danish Maritime Authority changed the manner in which passenger ship surveys are held. In the view of the Danish Maritime Authority, safety management, operations and maintenance are different aspects of the same issue. Therefore, the survey covers technical issues (renewal surveys), safety management (ISM) and maritime social security issues (MLC). This means that the renewal survey, ISM audit and MLC survey of a ship are combined into one survey

The Danish Maritime Authority recommends that the shipowner agrees on a survey plan no later than 14 days before the survey in cooperation with the ship surveyor who is to carry out the survey.

When planning the survey, consideration must be paid to the involved persons' hours of rest, including the ship's crew and the ship surveyors of the Danish Maritime Authority. In this connection, the shipowner should be aware that the ship surveyors of the Danish Maritime Authority are subject to the shore-based provisions on hours of rest.

Various draft survey plans..

The safety stewards/shop stewards on board the ship must, insofar as possible, be present during the survey.

The shipowner is not required to submit the ship's SMS (safety management system) to the Danish Maritime Authority prior to the survey since this will be discussed and verified by means of random checks during the survey. The Danish Maritime Authority and the shipowner can conclude an individual agreement to submit documentation before the survey. This may, for example, consist in the latest internal audit of the ship and the shipowner.

Furthermore, the shipowner must be aware that the Danish Maritime Authority does not forward checklists for preparing surveys

The survey consists of a number of modules which are carried out in the order that is best suited for the operation of the ship. Some of the modules are carried out continuously during the entire survey – such as the dialogue with various crew members about marine accidents, occupational health, MLC and ISM. The modules consist of a kick-off meeting, a theme on marine accidents and occupational health, an operational drill, maintenance, technical tests, certificates and a final meeting.

Kick-off meeting

The survey is initiated by a kick-off meeting at which the ship surveyors, the ship management and the crew are present. At the meeting, the final plan and the frames of the survey are agreed, including for example the scenario for the planned operational drill, the times of the technical tests (such as black-out test and sprinkler test) and the crew's involvement.

The shipowner must plan at least one operational drill which is based on the theme of the year. The shipowner is responsible for the planning, arrangement and carrying out of the drill, and it must reflect how the shipowner is working with safety on a daily basis. Following the drill, the crew must evaluate the drill so that the Danish Maritime Authority can evaluate the shipowner's safety management in practice.

Please observe that a technical test, such as the launching of a lifeboat, is not considered an operational drill. An operational drill must be able to verify the crew's effectivity, communication, interaction and confidentiality with the operation of the equipment in consideration of the ship's procedures and the human factor. A technical test consists in testing the equipment to demonstrate the correct operation and functioning of the equipment.

Tour of the ship

After the kick-off meeting, the ship surveyors will typically walk around the ship and talk to the crew members at their usual place of work. They may, for example, have a talk with a ship's assistant who is engaged in painting, a catering assistant who is engaged in cleaning, or a mate who has the bridge watch. The dialogue with the crew members will be based on the individual persons' field of work and responsibility and may, for example, be about occupational health (chemicals, heavy lifts or falls), marine accidents, maintenance, conditions of work (MLC) as well as certification, education and training.

In addition, the operational drill and technical tests will have the form of random checks. The technical tests may, inter alia, consist in black-out tests, tests of emergency lights, batteries, alarms, public address systems, fire doors, pumps, emergency generators, sprinkler tests, the launching of lifeboats, fast rescue boats (FRB) and rescue boats (MOB). It could be an advantage to include the technical tests as an element in the operational drill.

Final meeting

At the final meeting, the shipowner will receive a report consisting, inter alia, of an overall evaluation that pays just as much attention to the conditions on board that work well as those where there is room for improvements. The evaluation will be discussed with the crew.

The evaluation consists of the following:

  1. The crew's handling of a marine accident (competences and quality of drills and training)
  2. Safety management and communication (how is the safety culture on board?)
  3. Maintenance management system.

The report will also contain any requirements and non-conformities that may have been found during the survey.


Ship Survey, Certification and Manning