Registration number, safety label and builders plate

Registered vessels must display a registration label, numbers, and safety label.

Registration label

From 1 July 2016 registered vessels are not required to display registration labels. See the Maritime Registration Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Registration numbers

Registered vessels are assigned a registration number. This number must be displayed at all times on both sides of the hull, in figures at least 150mm high (100mm for Personal Watercraft (PWC) and sailing vessels). Sailing vessels may display their registration number on the transom.

The registration numbers must be displayed in a contrasting colour to the hull, in solid characters (not outlines), in a clear font or style and in upper case, so that they can be clearly identified.

Safety label

A safety label (which replaces the previous capacity plate) must be displayed clearly on all powered vessels, except Personal Watercraft (PWC). The label must be placed where it can easily be seen by the driver and every person on board the vessel.

The label indicates the maximum number of people allowed on a particular vessel in addition to important safety information. The capacity is determined by the information on the Australian Builders Plate (ABP), the manufacturer, or if not specified, by using the table on the reverse of the safety label.

The maximum number of occupants for good conditions is shown on the label. A reduction in the maximum number should be made in bad weather conditions or when in open waters. If not, the operator may be guilty of negligent navigation.

In determining whether your vessel complies with the capacity limits, the following applies:

  • Children up to 12 months old are not counted (although you still require safety equipment for them)
  • Each child between the ages of one and 12 years equals one half of an adult
  • Capacity of a person is assessed at 75kg per person with an additional allowance of 15kg per person for personal gear.
Example safety label

Australian Builders Plate (ABP)

Most power-driven vessels built from 1 July 2006, including imported vessels, must have an ABP affixed before they are registered for the first time. Displaying an ABP does not exempt vessels from the Hull Identification Number (HIN) requirement.

There are two types of ABP, one for vessels under six metres and one for vessels over six metres. The plate must be permanently affixed in a position where it is clearly visible.

An ABP enhances the safety of passengers by providing key safety information that includes:

  • Maximum weight and power rating of the engine
  • Maximum number of people capacity
  • Maximum load (weight) that the boat can carry (including people and equipment)
  • Buoyancy statement (for boats up to six metres in length)
  • Warning statements.

For more information on Australian Builders Plates visit the Australia and New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG) website.

Share this page: