Which vessels do the Regulations apply to?

The Regulations apply to vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length carrying 12 passengers or less.

In simple words, the Regulations apply to all carriage of 12 passengers or less, unless the activity is considered a recreational activity where individuals invite friends or acquaintances for a ride in their recreational craft.

The actual use of the vessel determines which regulations the vessel must comply with, irrespective of the vessel's original construction as a recreational craft, yacht, cargo ship, fishing vessel or other vessel. The minimum standards of the Regulations must be complied with to be allowed to carry 12 passengers in the territorial waters.

Cargo ships or fishing vessels are mainly used for other purposes than the carriage of passengers and shall, as a general rule, comply with other provisions.

If such vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length are intended to carry 12 passengers, the company must particularly consider whether the minimum requirements of the Regulations for vessels carrying 12 passengers or less are met and provide the vessel with any missing equipment or procedures.

Read the Regulations here.

Who is the “company”?

The legislation uses the term “company” for the party responsible for compliance with the safety regulations of the Act. The “company" may be an individual or a shipping company.

The general rule of the Regulations on vessels carrying 12 passengers or less is that the owner of the vessel is the company.

Registration of information about the operation/company

The company shall register information at the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) prior to carrying passengers.

The purpose of the registration obligation is to make the companies more aware of their responsibilities pursuant to the Ship Safety and Security Act and appurtenant regulations. Moreover, the NMA will be able to use the information for control and statistical purposes.

Companies which are covered by section 2 of the Regulations are not required to register.

Register information here

Company’s control

The company shall ensure that the provisions of the Regulations are complied with prior to their operation. If necessary, the company must ask for advice or assistance from persons or companies with expertise in the various areas.

Vessels complying with the Regulations do not need approval from the Norwegian Maritime Authority, and it is not necessary to contact the NMA prior to operation.

The NMA carries out supervision by means of random spot checks and may at any time ask the companies to demonstrate compliance with all requirements of the Regulations. 

Master of the vessel

Masters of vessels complying with the Regulations must be qualified and hold personal certificates in compliance with the requirements of sections 67 and 68 of the Regulations of 22 December 2011 No. 1523 on qualifications and certificates for seafarers. [lenke]

Generally, it is sufficient for the vessel to be manned by one person.

The company shall consider whether it is necessary to increase the manning in order to perform tasks such as keeping a look-out, assisting children or passengers with special needs or taking care of passengers in an emergency.

Waiting staff, etc. is also regarded as additional manning. The master and any additional manning are not included in the number of passengers.

Please direct any questions regarding qualification requirements to the Section of Seafarers by telephone (+47 52 74 50 00) or by sending an e-mail to post@sdir.no.

Vessels used for safe boating activities by schools, school camps or daycare centres

Vessels of less than 24 metres carrying 12 passengers or less which are used by schools, school camps or daycare centres for safe boating activities must comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft.

Masters of such vessels must also comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft. For some, this includes a requirement to have passed the boating exam [lenke]. Masters of recreational craft with a hull length of 15 metres or more shall hold a valid certificate to operate a recreational craft.

The term “safe boating” shall be widely interpreted and comprise all types of teaching, such as how to travel safely in a boat, but also include elements of playing, having fun and gaining experiences. The schools, school camps or daycare centres are not required to own and operate the vessel themselves.

The provision may for instance also be applied if schools, school camps or the daycare centres borrow a vessel for the occasion or a coast organisation places a vessel at their disposal, cf. the wording “used by”.

It is a precondition that schools, school camps or daycare centres, or those who place the vessel at their disposal, have internal routines to ensure the safety on board.

The NMA recommends that such vessels meet the following requirements in addition to the standard requirements applicable to recreational craft:

  • The vessel shall operate at a speed of maximum 10 knots.
  • The master of the vessel shall have a boating licence (masters of recreational craft with a hull length of 15 metres or more shall hold a valid certificate to operate a recreational craft).
  • The mobile coverage in the area must be good, and the mobile phones must be carried in a watertight case.
  • All persons on board must wear suitable floatation equipment during the entire voyage.
  • The vessel must have a device on board that makes it possible to pick up a person from the water.

Vessels used for leisure activities by members of an association or society

Vessels of less than 24 metres carrying 12 passengers or less which are used for leisure activities by members of associations or societies must comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft.

Masters of such vessels must also comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft. For some, this includes a requirement to have passed the boating exam [lenke]. Masters of recreational craft with a hull length of 15 metres or more shall hold a valid certificate to operate a recreational craft.

The NMA does not lay down specific requirements as to how individuals can become members or who can be members, and this provision gives associations and societies great flexibility.

However, the members must have the intention of being members over time (real members), and a member list must be kept to provide information about the duration of the membership, etc.

Associations or societies must provide information about their activities on their website or in social media, etc.

When the general public are invited to join a trip, or if anyone without any ties to the association or society pays a “membership fee” instead of paying for a ticket to join a single voyage, the Regulations on vessels of less than 24 metres in overall length carrying 12 passengers or less will apply.

The exemption may for example apply to coast organisations where members take part in voluntary work and use the association's vessels, yacht clubs using their vessels for trips or regattas or sea scouts on excursion.

Vessels of less than 10 metres with limited engine power

Vessels in the territorial waters of mainland Norway which have a limited propulsion machinery compared to the overall length as referred to in the table of section 2, may comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft.

Masters of such vessels must also comply with the rules applicable to recreational craft. For some, this includes a requirement to have passed the boating exam.

Vessels which are covered by this provision may be used for all types of activities, and the master or an instructor may be on board. With regard to the exemption, it is irrelevant whether such trips are paid for directly or indirectly.

Rental of vessels without master or crew

Vessels which are rented out without the lessor or another person acting on behalf of the lessor on board during the rental period are considered recreational craft.

Boat rental is subject to the Product Control Act, and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection has published an informational leaflet about this called «Forbrukertjenesten båtutleie» (in Norwegian only).

Vessels carrying more than 12 passengers

Vessels carrying more than 12 passengers shall be certified by the Norwegian Maritime Authority and be issued with a passenger certificate.

In this regard, the company must verify that the ship complies with other construction and equipment requirements than those applicable to vessels carrying 12 passengers or less.

Furthermore, other qualification requirements must be met by the crew.

Ships of 24 metres in overall length and upwards

Ships of 24 metres in overall length and upwards are required to have a trading certificate, also when carrying 12 passengers or less.

Please direct any questions to the Section of Cargo Ships by telephone +47 52 74 50 00 or by sending an e-mail to post@sdir.no.