In Defence, a vessel must be more than technically sound to be considered seaworthy. Those in charge of a capability must provide evidence, independent of their chain of command, that they have implemented systems of control for the governance and management of their maritime mission systems.

The Defence Seaworthiness Management System (DSwMS) reduces the regulatory burden for Defence by providing a single set of regulations, administered by a single regulatory body.

The system takes a non-prescriptive approach to regulation, providing flexibility for different parts of the organisation to respond to hazards and risks in the most appropriate way for their context. This allows for mindful decision making, where risks to operational effectiveness are considered as much as hazards to people and the environment.

DSwMS has 2 types of compliance obligations:

  1. Governance and management compliance obligations look at enterprise level governance and management practices.

  2. Activity and condition-based compliance obligations cover the technical requirements of Defence vessels.

Those in charge of a capability respond to these compliance obligations by implementing policies and developing means of compliance. These means of compliance are consolidated into a Compliance Strategy, which is submitted to DSwR for assessment.

Once strategies are in place, both the regulated community and DSwR conduct assurance activities.

Defence Seaworthiness Management System Manual (PDF, 3.65 MB)