The Navigation Act 1912 has been rewritten into the Navigation Act 2012 in order to better the conditions and the running of vessels in Australian waters. Effective from 1 July 2013, the act was rewritten in order to take into account practices that are no long necessary and to regulate more contemporary operations.

The Navigation Act applies primarily to Australian flagged vessels, which are on, or intended for use on, voyages outside Australia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and to all foreign flagged vessels in Australian waters. The National Law Act for Domestic Commercial Vessels, which also come in to force on the same day, establishes requirements for Australian commercial vessels that operate domestically.

The Act change will apply to Australian flagged vessels that go outside Australian waters, or commercially outside Australian waters; foreign flagged vessels operating commercially in Australian Waters; and Australian vessels that maintain certification for unrestricted operations.

Speaking to Cameron Bray, director of Bray Management, the benefits of a single national regulator “allows yachts to operate freely anywhere within Australian waters … [the Navigation Act] is not voyage based and vessels will no longer move between legislation depending on what type of voyage they are undertaking. The previous system of voyage-based determinations for vessels travelling interstate or overseas on an ad hoc basis added to the costs of compliance for industry, and regulation for government. Foreign flagged vessels, certified by class and the LY2 code, will be permitted to operate under the same terms as regulated Australian vessels.”

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The Navigation Act 2012 replaces the outdated and unclear Navigation Act 1912 for Australia's maritime industry.