Maritime Law issues have a significant influence on both commercial and recreational activities in this region.

The law relating to shipping or maritime activities is not confined to the passage of ships at sea. There is a growing body of laws both state and federal which govern virtually all water borne and associated activities in this region. These range from pollution issues to visitation and use restrictions in national park areas and on the Great Barrier Reef.

Penalties for non-compliance are substantial. Similarly, boat building for commercial vessels is governed by Australian Standards that are mandatory in Australia

When it comes to maritime law, it pays to talk to someone who knows the waters; someone who understands the business fore and aft.

Notary Lawyer of Melbourne / Bentleys Barristers and Solicitors has considerable knowledge and experience in marine-related industries and issues. The Firm provides advice and assistance with:

  • Negotiation of ship-building contracts;
  • Preparation of standard small boat-building contracts for builders;
  • Supply and service agreements for marine service providers;
  • Sale or purchase of both recreational or commercial/survey vessels;
  • Demise charter agreements;
  • Cruise operator ticket conditions;
  • Bareboat charter and management agreements;
  • Registration of vessels as Australian Ships under the Shipping Registration Act 1981;
  • Advice with respect to the provisions of state and federal legislation governing the use and operation of vessels in our waters including the provisions of the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act;
  • Preparation of standard broker boat-sale agreements;
  • Securities/charges over vessels (both Australian Ships and otherwise);
  • Applications for review of tribunal decisions including judicial reviews where required;
  • Arrest of ships;
  • Negotiation and conclusion of service contracts with government or statutory bodies;
  • Leasing of property from port authorities;
  • Licensing advice (surveyors, fishermen).
  • If you require further assistance with any maritime law matters, please call or email:

Ship’s Protests and the Role of a Notary Public in the Shipping Industry

What is a ship’s protest?

A ships protest, also known as a sea protest, is a document that is notarized and contains a statement from the captain of the ship regarding the conditions or events experienced during the voyage. The purpose of the creation of a ship’s protest is to prevent the owner or the operator of the vessel from facing liability for the damage incurred in rough seas to the cargo of the ship or from the liability for damage to other vessels if there was a collision at sea.

The reason that it is important to make a ship’s protest is that at later stage in court it may be denied the opportunity of having the ship’s log admitted into evidence if there is not a ships protest supporting the events on record. Also, if the full extent of damage only becomes apparent at some later stage, the captain can then extend the ships’s protest by attending the office of the notary to explain in further detail what has occurred.

Also, the existence of a ships protest can assist with the process of claiming against the insurance for the vessel in a collision or for the cargo as maritime insurance companies will often request some further form of documentation than the say so of the crew or captain before allowing a claim against an insurance policy in the event of the loss of cargo from a ship or the collision between two ships.

How can a notary public assist?

The most common way for a notary to assist in the situation where there has been a loss of cargo or a collision between two ships is that the notary can meet with the captain of the ship to take the ship’s protest down immediately. It is advisable that this be done as soon as the captain enters port as the reliability of the ships protest document may be considered to be reduced as more time passes since the incident of bad weather or a shipping collision occurs. If you need a notary for this type of service, please do not hesitate to contact us using the contact form at the top right of this page.