Wharf safety assessment

In order to provide a consistent approach to assessing public wharf safety, Transport for NSW has developed a Guideline for the Assessment of Public Ferry Wharf Safety.

The Guideline:

  • Provides suitable criteria and standards for public ferry wharf safety
  • Outlines appropriate inspections and maintenance requirements
  • Establishes an appropriate methodology for the ongoing compliance of public ferry wharves.

Transport for NSW uses this Guideline and an inspection check list when inspecting public ferry wharves.

This Guideline supersedes the previous Procedure published in August 2007. The aim of this Guideline is to provide a general methodology to assist owners with the assessment of the safety of their public ferry wharf. The Guideline identifies checklists and guidelines for assessing safety compliance and condition of their wharf and further works to obtain compliance, such as engineering inspection and assessment, specialist inspections and preparing a maintenance program. In 2015, Transport for NSW commissioned WorleyParsons’ consulting division, now rebranded as Advisian, to review and refresh this document. It has been prepared with input from owners and designers of wharf assets and Transport for NSW with reference to the relevant building codes, guidelines and standards.


The Marine Safety Act 1998 allows Transport for NSW to issue the owner of a public ferry wharf with the following notices:

  • An Improvement notice – requiring remedial safety work to be undertaken
  • A Prohibition notice – barring any activity at that wharf that may involve a risk to the health or safety of persons using, or operating, public passenger services provided by ferries.

If the risk or non-compliance is deemed to be minor, Transport for NSW may issue a Defect advisory notice requiring the owner to provide a timetable and strategy for repairs. If the owner fails to comply with this notice, Transport for NSW would then issue a formal Improvement notice or Prohibition notice.

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