Australian Maritime Safety Authority


Navigating safely

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority delivers a range of navigational services to help ships navigate safely within Australian waters.

Marine navigation

Marine navigation is planning, ascertaining and directing a watercraft’s voyage. The practice of marine navigation involves:

  • good seamanship
  • professional knowledge and judgement
  • the application of science and technology.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is the national agency responsible for:

  • maritime safety
  • protection of the marine environment
  • maritime and aviation search and rescue.

AMSA deals with the safety of navigation in Australian waters by continually reviewing the effectiveness of current safety, navigation and management measures, and identifying additional or enhanced measures that may be needed in the future. 

AMSA delivers a range of navigational services primarily aimed at the levy-paying commercial shipping industry.

These services provide ships with the ability to navigate safely around Australia’s coastline and to and from its ports. Services include:

  • a network of some 500 visual and electronic aids to navigation
  • ship routing measures
  • ship reporting systems
  • Under Keel Clearance Management
  • Vessel Traffic Services.

The provision of navigational services is funded from the Marine Navigation Levy, a charge levied on the commercial levy-paying shipping industry. 


E-navigation is an International Maritime Organization (IMO)-led global initiative aiming to provide information in electronic formats to a ship’s bridge team, and streamline the way maritime authorities, agencies and other stakeholders gather and exchange information. 

E-navigation will integrate new and existing bridge technologies and equipment and provide global maritime data services to enhance the safety and efficiency of shipping.

Australia has been active in two areas integral to the future of e-navigation:

  • Human Centred Design (HCD)
  • Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) services.  

A significant part of Australia’s work on HCD for e-navigation was approved in 2015: a Guideline on Software Quality Assurance and Human Centred Design for e-navigation. 

The Human Centred Design & Software Quality Assurance Guidelines for E-navigation video introduces the guideline and outlines what it covers.   

The IMO agreed to several e-navigation outputs in 2015 that will be progressed between 2016 and 2019.

AMSA will continue to contribute to these IMO endeavours focusing on the Human Element and the provision of appropriate PNT.

Other key international organisations are assisting the IMO, including:

  • the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA)
  • the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO).

Further information

Find out more about Navigation Services.

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