All operators are required to carry observers when requested by AFMA.

Whenever possible, AFMA sends advice to operators that they have been nominated to carry an observer during a particular period. This notice is given with as much warning as possible, usually in excess of four weeks and possibly as much as twelve months in advance.

In some cases operators may be contacted at short notice to carry an observer when unforeseen circumstances arise, such as a breakdown to a boat that was set to carry an observer.