In-water hull and biofouling survey of vessels entering Australian ports

​Join our voluntary survey into how biofouling is managed on vessel hulls arriving in Australian waters.

The survey is open to Australian and internationally operated commercial vessels that have travelled overseas.

To participate, you will need to:

  • provide access to your vessel for an in-water hull survey, and
  • complete a short online questionnaire.

About the survey

The survey will inform new internationally consistent biofouling standards for Australia.

Biofouling is the marine growth that tends to occur on the hull and niche areas of vessels, including sea chests, bow thrusters, propeller shafts and dry-dock support strips. Vessel biofouling is a major pathway for the introduction of exotic species into Australian waters.

Managing the amount of biofouling on a vessel not only reduces the risk of harmful plants and animals entering new waters, but also improves vessel performance, and reduces CO2 emissions and maintenance costs.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources works closely with its stakeholders to help minimise the biosecurity risk to Australia posed by biofouling.

The department has engaged Ramboll Environ to conduct the survey from November 2016 to June 2017.

Benefits of participation

You will receive a dive survey report for your vessel that covers:

  • amount and location of biofouling
  • condition of the antifouling coatings
  • general condition of the hull.

In-water survey

The dive survey takes approximately 3–4 hours, depending on the vessel and local weather and sea conditions. It will involve an underwater biofouling survey of your vessel’s hull and niche areas. The diver will take a digital image of multiple areas to record:

  • condition of antifouling (good, average, poor, absent)
  • level of biofouling (% cover; comparable to ASTM standards)
  • broad groupings of biofouling type (e.g. algae, barnacles).

The survey is not a compliance activity and will not involve identifying any biofouling species or removing any biofouling sample from the vessel. All information collected will be treated as confidential.

We will work with you to arrange a suitable time for the survey that minimises interruption to your vessel’s schedule, such as during scheduled maintenance.

The costs directly associated with the in-water dive survey and report will be met by the department.

Dive survey locations

The underwater surveys will be conducted at the following Australian ports:

  • Adelaide (South Australia)
  • Brisbane, Gladstone, Townsville (Queensland)
  • Burnie, Devonport, Hobart (Tasmania)
  • Dampier, Fremantle (Western Australia)
  • Darwin (Northern Territory)
  • Geelong, Hastings, Melbourne (Victoria)
  • Port Botany, Port Kembla, Sydney (New South Wales).

Online questionnaire

You will also be asked to complete a short online survey. The questionnaire will collect information on:

  • biofouling management activities
  • voyage patterns
  • awareness of biofouling management strategies.

How to get involved

Email Ramboll Marine Pests to register your interest in participating; quoting our reference Vessel hull survey. ​