The management of port operations is subject to a number of functions that are commonly undertaken by public authorities. Depending on the port governance model, these authorities might be national, regional, or at the port level. Some of the functions might also be undertaken by the harbor master or the coastguard. Private entities tend to be less involved. Port authorities also adopt and enforce security regulations for marine traffic, speed limits, the safety of operations, berthing, movement of hazardous materials, accessibility of the port area, substance abuse, recreational boating, and licensing personnel.
The functions included in this category of port governance tasks are the adoption and approval of regulations concerning the safety of operations, the provision of maritime services, such as pilotage, towage, and mooring, or infrastructures (lighting, channels, buoying, navigability, radar). Further responsibilities are the implementation of local or international safety and security codes (i.e. ISPS Code) and protocols; the provision of waste reception facilities in line with international conventions; Port State Control according to international regulations; and the organization of a number of auxiliary services ranging from customs formalities, immigration control, and veterinary checks, to policing, fire-fighting, search and rescue services and emergency and contingency plans.