Marine Safety encompasses merchant ships, passenger vessels, fishing vessels and leisure craft sectors.  The key objectives of Marine Safety are:

  • To put in place appropriate organisation structures and arrangements to deliver co-ordinated and cost effective maritime safety
  • To continuously improve marine safety culture awareness and training
  • To develop and implement international and domestic safety standards for vessels.

This is achieved through an appropriate combination of regulation, enforcement and safety awareness campaigns with particular focus on the promotion of fishing vessel safety; the enhancement of the passenger vessel safety regime; the encouragement of best practice in the recreational/leisure sector, to include compliance with the statutory provisions, and the introduction of measures to further strengthen marine safety.

Developments at international level influence the policy and regulatory framework for safety standards on seagoing vessels.  Participation at EU and other international fora, dealing with maritime safety issues, in particular the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ensures that Irish interests are effectively represented. The Maritime Safety Directorate implements agreed revised safety standards through the ratification of international treaties and the introduction of regulations and legislation.

Recently Published

The Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Bill 2013

The Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Bill 2013 was published on Monday, 23 December 2013.  The proposals seek to update ship registration legislation dating from 1955.  The proposals, when passed by the Houses of the Oireachtas, will allow for the establishment and regulation of a modern ship registration system with a new, centralised, electronic and accessible national ship register, the Irish Register of Ships, at its core.

Regulatory Impact Analysis 

Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Bill 2013

Merchant Shipping (Registration of Ships) Bill 2013 Explanatory Memo

Merchant Shipping (Registration Of Ships) Bill 2013 – Questions And Answers

Useful Links


Merchant Shipping Act 2010

Irish Maritime Development Office (Careers at Sea)

Irish Water Safety

Marine Institute

European Union

European Commission MOVE DG

European Maritime Safety Agency


International Hydrographic Organisation

International Labour Organisation

International Maritime Organisation