Safe System Approach

What is the Safe System Approach

To achieve the ultimate goal of zero deaths and serious injuries on NSW waterways, the Centre for Maritime Safety has adopted a Safe System Approach.

The Safe System Approach is underpinned by these principles:

  • People are human and sometimes make mistakes – a simple mistake shouldn’t cost anyone their life.
  • People are vulnerable.
  • Boating safety is a shared responsibility – everyone needs to make safe decisions on and around the road to prioritise safety.
  • Consider strengthening all parts of the system.

Parts of the Safe System Approach

The Maritime Safe System Approach is incorporated in the Maritime Safety Plan and is made up of four parts.

  1. Safe Systems – Legislation, governance, data, innovation, research and analysis.
  2. Safe People – Considers peoples’ habits, education, capacity, compliance and behaviour.
  3. Safe Vessels – Making vessels safer with features that reduce the likelihood and severity of incidents.
  4. Safe Waterways – Infrastructure designed and built to be more forgiving and reduce the severity and likelihood of human error.


Safe System Approach examples

Safe System

  • Enhanced data gathering and geographical placement show that incidents occur between good clear conditions and a quick deterioration of the weather.
  • Research into attitudes and behaviours.

Safe People

  • Public awareness campaign on the necessity to check and maintain a watch on weather conditions when using waterways.

Safe Vessels

  • Encouraging the adoption of vessels with positive buoyancy.
  • Carriage of minimal requirements in safety equipment.

Safe Waterways

  • Installing lighting on navigation markers.
  • Providing courtesy moorings at safe protected locations.