skip to content
Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Vessel Check

Effective vessel management for marine biofouling not only prevents the introduction and spread of introduced marine species (IMS), but also provides considerable economic benefits, including increased vessel performance and speed, reduced day-to-day running costs (lower fuel consumption), reduced maintenance costs, extended life of vessel and gear, reduced costs for emergency responses following the detection of an IMS in the waters of Western Australia and improved prospects for securing work on resource projects.

To assist vessel managers with effective vessel management, we have created a new tool, Vessel Check.

About Vessel Check

Vessel Check is an online vessel risk assessment tool designed to help you manage your vessel’s biofouling risk. This tool is the result of ongoing development and testing, in consultation with key stakeholders in government, industry, academia and the community. 

Vessel Check is intended as a tool to enable vessel managers to take an active role in management of biofouling on their vessels, and reduce their risk of moving IMS into and around Western Australia. Vessel Check is a voluntary tool.

Completing a Vessel Check risk assessment will help clarify your vessel’s current risk status and provide possible actions to reduce risk if necessary. Maintaining your vessel risk status at LOW/ACCEPTABLE will reduce the likelihood of transferring live non-endemic or noxious fish (including IMS) into WA contrary to the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA), and may also provide evidence to support a defence to any change under this legislation. 

All vessels entering the State of WA may be subject to inspection by the Department’s compliance team to check the vessel is not carrying an IMS and so is compliant with the FRMA.

How does Vessel Check work?

Vessel Check uses your specific vessel information to provide you with a risk assessment of the likelihood that your vessel will transfer an IMS to Western Australia, and provides a choice of detailed management actions to reduce this risk. These can then be used to inform your decision making.

After you have filled in the questionnaire, the tool will calculate a risk status for your vessel. When you submit the information, Vessel Check will send you a Risk Assessment Report. This report will contain a detailed summary and a range of recommended management options to reduce the vessel risk status.

It is then up to you to consider the actions suggested and decide which actions are most appropriate for that vessel and movement.

Who should use Vessel Check?

Vessel Check is intended for use by managers of commercial, non-trading, petroleum and commercial fishing vessels, for all international and interstate vessel movements to Western Australia.

Future versions of Vessel Check for yachts and rigs are being considered for development. Meanwhile, please see the information on good vessel management on these web pages, or contact us for assistance.

Resource projects that are subject to ministerial conditions under the WA Environmental Protection Act 1986 should also continue to carry out risk assessments and management activities as specified in those conditions.

Why should I use Vessel Check?

The tool is designed to reduce the likelihood of transferring IMS into WA, support your ongoing effective management of vessel biofouling, encourage best practice, and may also provide evidence to support a defence to any change under the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA).

Submitting your vessel’s risk assessment to us can also provide you with reassurance that vessel management practices are adequate for the proposed voyage and that your vessel risk status is indeed LOW/ACCEPTABLE because the Department will be able to review the assessment and provide advice. 

When should I use Vessel Check?

You should use this tool when planning your vessel movement into WA and before departure, to ensure that your vessel risk status is LOW/ACCEPTABLE.

We encourage you to carry out a risk assessment well in advance of your intended mobilisation to WA to allow sufficient time to plan for and carry out management actions or to coincide with regular maintenance plans, should they be required.

The tool also has an excellent ‘scenario’ feature, which enables users to test different scenarios for their vessels. For example:

  • understanding which vessel may present the lowest risk for particular mobilisation;
  • future risk status of a vessel; or the
  • projected risk status after carrying out planned maintenance options.

For further detailed information, please refer to the Vessel Check User Guide and Vessel Check FAQs.


We are committed to continuous improvement of the new tool and your feedback is welcomed and will be considered for future developments. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you to maximise biosecurity outcomes for WA.

Contact our Biosecurity Unit to provide feedback. 

Last modified: 30/10/2015 4:40 PM

© All contents copyright Government of Western Australia. All rights reserved. ABN: 18 951 343 745


© This work is copyright. You may display, print or reproduce this material only in an unaltered format for your personal or non-commercial use, or for use within your organisation. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, all other rights are reserved.


The information and advice provided by the Department of Fisheries website is made in good faith and is from sources believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of release onto the website. Changes in circumstances after a document is placed on the website may affect the accuracy of the information. Full disclaimer details are available at