Surveys regarding ship safety:

Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehrswirtschaft Post-Logistik Telekommunikation (BG Verkehr)
Dienststelle Schiffssicherheit
Brandstwiete 1
20457 Hamburg

Zentrale Einsatzplanung

Phone: +49 40 36 137-239 oder +49 40 361 37-829
Fax: +49 40 361 37-204



Ship safety surveys from Rostock:

Außenstelle Rostock

Julia Klaus
Phone: +49 40 39 80 23 23
Fax: +49 40 39 80 21 23



Ship safety surveys from Bremerhaven:

Außenstelle Bremerhaven


Silvia Carroll
Phone: +49 471 922 05 20
Fax: +49 471 922 05 23



Surveys regarding maritime labour law:

Referat ISM/ILO - Bereich Seearbeitsrecht

Fax: +49 40 361 37-204



Surveys regarding radio and navigation equipment:

Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie
Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78
20359 Hamburg

Phone: +49 40 31 90-0
Fax: +49 40 3190-5000

Matthias Lafrentz
Phone: +49 40 31 90-7211
Fax: +49 40 31 90-50 00



Webcode for this Content: 16383366

Ship surveys

Surveys improve ship safety and protect seafarers

Upon delivery or change of flag of a ship, and on ships in service, periodical surveys by the flag state administration or by a recognized organization (classification society) are required. These surveys form the base for the issuance of ship safety certificates and their renewal or extension of validity. By means of the surveys flag states ensures compliance of ships under their flag with the requirements regarding ship safety or working and living conditions on board.

Scope and scheme of surveys are specified by international conventions

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted mandatory regulations for the safety of seagoing ships with several international conventions. In particular the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) provides in chapter I of its annex detailed requirements for survey and certification of ships. The IMO has compiled scope and scheme of all ship safety surveys in the „Guidelines under the Harmonized System of survey and certification“. This is where you can find the latest version of these guidelines.

Surveys under the German flag

The following two institutions are in charge of surveys on merchant ships under the German flag:

  • the Ship Safety Division of the BG Verkehr, and
  • the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH)

The ship safety division is in charge of all surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law, except surveys of navigational and radio equipment for which the BSH is responsible.

(back to top)

Surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law

No special application is required for the surveys regarding ship safety and maritime labour law (except for navigational and radio equipment). The ship safety division arranges automatically for surveys when it receives an application for changing to the German flag or an announcement of newbuilding. Many surveys, especially abroad, are performed by surveyors of recognized organisations.

(back to top)

Surveys and plan approval for navigational and radio equipment and for equipment according to COLREG 72

For any newly constructed, modified or refitted ship a plan approval of the ship’s navigational and radio equipment is required. This plan approval is part of the initial survey. By means of drawings and documents it will be verified, that all requirements regarding arrangement, fitting and installation of the ship’s equipment are complied with. This helps to prepare the ship’s survey and to avoid costly modifications, which might otherwise become necessary.

The procedure is specified with the „Bedingungen für die Planprüfung der vorgesehenen Aufstellung, Anbringung bzw. des Einbaus von Navigations- und Funkausrüstung sowie Ausrüstung nach COLREG 72“ (BfP) (Conditions for plan approval) of the BSH. This document includes in its annex special requirements regarding the arrangement of certain items of equipment. The BSH forwards a copy of each approval certificate to the ship safety division, in case of newbuildings also a list of the navigation equipment.

Please use the following form:

Please submit the required documents in time. This minimises the risk of costly modifications to faultily arranged items of equipment.

The plan approval is followed by the initial survey, which will verify that the installation of the ship’s equipment complies with the approved plans and that the items of equipment are as approved and functioning correctly. The testing of equipment is usually performed on board.

Replicate tests, which must be performed periodically, focus not only on the correct functioning of the equipment, but also on modifications which could have been made since the previous survey.

(back to top)

bild schiffsbesichtigungen

Frequency of the surveys for navigational and radio equipment

The frequency of the surveys for equipment depends on the period of validity of the certificate and on the ship type: Passenger ships annually, fishing vessels of more than 24 m length biannually, other ships quinquennially and after substantial maintenance work. Radio equipment is to be surveyed annually on all ships.

The surveys are carried out by the BSH in accordance with the „Bedingungen für die Prüfung der Aufstellung/Anbringung von Navigations- und Funkausrüstung sowie Ausrüstung nach COLREG 72“ (BfA) (Conditions for arrangement).

Please use the following form:

(back to top)

Compass adjustment

Standard-magnetic compasses and steering-magnetic compasses which are permanently fitted on board of ships under the German flag must be adjusted before being used and later periodically at two year intervals. This has to be done by a person recognized either by the BSH, based on proven competence, or by an IMO member state. Special recognition by the BSH of compass adjustments performed abroad is no longer required.

Please click here for the list of recognized experts for compass adjustment.

(back to top)

Recognized bodies for testing of navigational and radio equipment

The BSH may authorize other bodies to perform parts of ship surveys and individual laboratory tests. Such bodies must possess the status of a recognized body and are scrutinized accordingly. Recognized bodies of the BSH must fulfil the „Bedingungen für die Anerkennung als Einrichtung zur Durchführung von Besichtigungen und Laboreinzelprüfungen im Auftrag des BSH“ (BfE) (Conditions for recognition).

Please click here for a list of recognized bodies for testing of navigational and radio equipment.

(back to top)