Use and installation of VMS

Install a VMS unit on a vessel

Fishers can use devices that are currently authorised by AFMA for operating in Commonwealth fisheries if they are already installed on the vessel operating in the Rock Lobster, Giant Crab, Scallop (Ocean) or Trawl (Inshore) fisheries.

Installation and Maintenance Standard (PDF – 1.5 MB)

Orbcomm instructions  (PDF – 648.6 KB)

VMS units must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s Terminal Installation Guide and the VFA VMS Installation and Maintenance Standard.

The VFA recommends that fishers engage a professional marine electrician to install their VMS device.

Registering a VMS device with the VFA

Orbcomm ST6100 VMS devices will be preregistered when provided to fishers and will begin operating when power is connected.

Contact the Commercial Licencing Unit before installing and turning your VMS unit on for the first time

Phone : (03) 8392 6860

Email :[email protected]

Determine if the VMS unit is working properly

The Orbcomm ST6100 has an external LED that flashes when power is applied:

Position of LED on ST6100 device indicated by arrow. Note that some devices have the black cable connector on the bottom.

Twice every 30 seconds while the device is connecting to the satellite

Four times when the connection is established

Once every 30 seconds when the device is working

An external LED can be installed if the in-built LED is not visible from the wheelhouse or vessel working area.

This LED will:

Begin flashing about five seconds after power is connected

Flash once per second while the device is connecting to the satellite

Be lit continuously once the satellite connection is established.

The VFA has prepared regulatory guidelines to assist fishers to understand how it will enforce the VMS regulations.

You should contact the Duty Officer immediately if you suspect that your VMS device is not working.

Detailed information is found in the Regulatory Guidelines (PDF – 394.3 KB) .

VMS unit is not operating before leaving port

Fishers whose VMS units are not working while in port should contact the Operations Duty Officer (0419 844 781) before leaving on a fishing trip.

The Operations Duty Officer will authorise the operator to undertake a fishing trip if the installed VMS unit is not fully operational if satisfied that there are special circumstances to justify the authorisation. The Operations Duty Officer will consider special circumstances apply if satisfied that:


A replacement unit is not available and or cannot be registered with VFA Licensing Commercial Licencing during business hours;


The unit was installed correctly;


The fisher has taken reasonable steps to have the device repaired or replaced at the next opportunity; and


The operator is low risk (i.e. has a history of compliance).

Can I move VMS units between boats?

Fishers must provide the VFA with the name and registration details of the new vessel that the VMS unit will be installed on.

This information must be provided to the Commercial Licensing Unit during business hours and at least 48 hours before the next fishing trip commences.