VRAT 2.9

Vessel Check

Biofouling Risk Assessment Tool


Thank you for accessing the Western Australian Department of Fisheries’ online vessel biofouling risk assessment tool, Vessel Check.

If this is the first time you have used Vessel Check, it is highly recommended that you familiarise yourself with the information below. It will help you understand how best to use the tool and things you should know, including important regulatory requirements.

Vessel Check is intended for use by commercial vessels, non-trading, petroleum and commercial fishing vessels for international and interstate movements. Additional functionality of Vessel Check for recreational vessels, such as yachts, is being investigated for the future.

Projects which are subject to ministerial conditions should continue to carry out risk assessments and management activities as specified in those conditions. For other types of vessel movements we also recommend you continue to carry out your own vessel risk assessments or contact the Department for assistance. Further information is available on the Department of Fisheries’ website via the URL listed under Useful Links section, below.

Scheduled Maintenance Alert

No service disruption planned.

Important Information About Vessel Check

Using Vessel Check

To start a new Vessel Check risk assessment click on the "Enter Assessment Tool" button below.

Fields marked with an asterisk are required fields.

User Help information relevant to answering a question (if applicable) is available by clicking on the more link located next to the form field.

You will be assigned a unique URL reference which will be emailed to the address you supply in the Contact Details section. Your report can be saved after every page. If you quit this assessment prior to submitting it, either intentionally or unintentionally, you may use the above URL to resume the assessment.

Please do not press back in your browser as this can cause errors. Use the tabs and navigation buttons in the form.

You may be required to upload some or all of the following documents as evidence, depending on your responses. Please ensure that you are able to locate electronic copies of the following:

  • Record of Antifouling Coatings Systems Certificate
  • Biofouling Inspector's Report
  • Evidence of MGPS use in internal seawater systems – e.g. log books
  • Evidence of remedial treatments in internal seawater systems –e.g. log books
  • Operational history

Your vessel Risk Status will automatically be displayed on screen on the Summary Page, upon successful validation of a completed questionnaire. Further explanation of your risk status and recommended actions to reduce it, can only be viewed by submitting your assessment to obtain a Risk Assessment Report, which will be emailed to the address you supply in the contact details page. You may choose to submit as either a scenario or actual vessel movement. A sample report can be previewed by clicking on the icon below.

Risk Assessment Report Sample


In order to review your Report, you must have a PDF reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader installed prior to starting the report.

New Versions

If there has been a change in circumstances that may affect your risk profile subsequent to submitting your assessment, you may create a new version to update these details accordingly. Once submitted, the new version will supersede the previously submitted version, which will become unavailable.

You may convert a submitted scenario to an actual vessel movement as a new version and complete the remaining required information. You may also create a new version of an existing scenario to test a variation on it, for the same vessel movement. For best results, please ensure you are using the Internet Explorer 9.0 or higher, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome

Policy Context

The potential for invasive marine species (IMS) transferred through biofouling to cause harm has been recognised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), several United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Seas Conventions, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Region Environmental Program (SPREP).

Vessel Check is designed as part of a suite of management tools being developed under the Western Australian (WA) Government’s Aquatic Biosecurity Policy and the Biofouling Biosecurity Policy. The key principles of these policies are:

  • Focus on Prevention - prevent introduction and establishment of aquatic pests and diseases.
  • Least Restrictive Biosecurity Measures - minimise cost and inconvenience to stakeholders.
  • Risk-Based Resource Allocation - cost-effective benefit and reduction of high priority risks.
  • A Shared Responsibility - work in partnership with stakeholders to manage biosecurity.

The WA Department of Fisheries is the lead agency in Western Australia responsible for the management of aquatic pests and diseases. The Department’s primary responsibility is to assist the Minister for Fisheries in administering the Fish Resources Management Act 1994 (FRMA) and the Pearling Act 1990, and subsidiary legislation.

The Department also works in cooperation with other Australian states and the Australian Federal Government via the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) and the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement (NEBRA).

In the area of biofouling and in accordance with the above principles, the Department’s focus is on management activities which include setting standards and providing tools to empower and assist stakeholders to manage their own biofouling risk. For further details please refer to the links provided below.

Best Practice Guidelines

The Department of Fisheries’ policy is that vessels should be ‘clean’ before leaving for new destinations within WA. This means the risk of IMS transport should be kept to an acceptable (low) level by vessel managers complying with relevant international, national and state obligations, legislation and guidelines prior to travel into and within WA waters.

Good vessel management for marine biofouling not only prevents the introduction and spread of 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 and reduced costs associated with emergency responses to translocation of an IMS.

Under regulation 176 of the Fish Resources Management Regulations 1995, it is an offence to translocate live non-endemic fish to Western Australia, without permission. In addition, under Part 16A of the FRMA, the Department has emergency powers to deal with incursions of invasive marine species which include directing a person to undertake necessary activities to prevent or control the spread of an IMS, or to eradicate IMS in Western Australian waters. If these activities are not undertaken, the Department may carry out the activities and recover any costs incurred from the person initially directed to undertake the activities.

More information on vessel biofouling management can be found via the links below.

Australian and International Obligations and Legislation

The Department recognises and complies with relevant international, national and state obligations and legislation. Australia is a signatory to the International Convention on the Control of Harmful Antifouling Systems on Ships, 2001 (AFS Convention) which prohibits the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships. Your use of this risk assessment tool is permitted on the assumption that your vessel complies with the AFS convention. If you are uncertain about the status of your vessel’s antifouling coating (AFC) you should seek advice before completing this risk assessment.

More information about the AFS and other relevant agreements and legislation can be found via the links below.

Useful Links

AFS convention




Australian Department of Agriculture


Fish Resources Management Act, 1994 (FRMA)






WA Biosecurity Policy



Risk Assessment Report Sample


Risk Assessment Report Sample


Risk Assessment Report Sample