Safety equipment requirements

Recreational vessels must carry certain safety equipment.

Safety equipment table - to be carried on board

Printable checklists:

Symbol Item Enclosed waters
Open waters
symbol indicating lifejacket Lifejacket Level 100 or greater   1 per person*
symbol indicating lifejacket Lifejacket Level 50S or greater. 1 per person*  
symbol indicating anchor and chain/line Anchor and chain/line (to suit vessel size/weight and sea floor) 1 1
symbol indicating fire bucket Bailer/bucket/fire bucket with lanyard. 1 1
symbols indicating manual and auto bilge pump Bilge pump - Manual or power operated (vessel with covered bilge(s) or closed under-floor compartments other than airtight void spaces and must be capable of draining each compartment). 1** 1**
symbol indicating compass Compass (fluid filled magnetic)   1
symbol indicating orange smoke distress flare - two sticks with smoke Distress flare (orange smoke hand-held, in date)   2
symbol indicating red distress signal – two sticks with flames Distress flare (red hand-held, in date)   2
symbol indicating fire extinguisher Fire extinguisher (vessels with electric start, electric motors, battery, gas or fuel stoves) 1** 1**
symbol indicating paper map Map/chart for area of operation (paper or electronic)   1
symbol indicating oars Paddles or oars and rowlocks (in vessels under 6 m unless a second means of propulsion is fitted) 1 1
symbol indicating safety label Safety label (appropriate to vessel type) 1 1
symbol indicating sound signal Sound signal (air horn/whistle/bell) 1 1
symbol indicating V sheet (orange) V sheet (dimensions 1.8 x 1.2 m minimum)   1
symbol indicating drinking water Water (suitable for drinking)   2L per person
symbol indicating torch Waterproof torch (floating and operational) 1 1
symbol indicating EPIRB EPIRB – 406 MHz (required if 2 nautical miles or more offshore). Must be in date (according to the manufacturers expiry date) and properly registered with AMSA.   1
symbol indicating radio Marine radio (required if 2 nautical miles or more offshore)   1

* Lifejackets must be suitable for the intended wearer, in good condition and serviced at least every 12 months (or at longer intervals in accordance with manufacturer's instructions).

** Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels.

# The exception is when using PWC, canoes and kayaks, off-the-beach sailing vessels, sailboards and kiteboards.

Modified safety equipment requirements

Vessel type Requirements
Canoes/kayaks Exempt from carrying safety equipment on all waters, but hand-held marine radio or mobile phone in waterproof pouch strongly recommended.
Racing shells, surf rescue boats, surfboats and surf skis
Exempt from carrying safety equipment on all waters.
Rowboats, dinghies, small unpowered inflatable boats Exempt from carrying safety equipment on enclosed waters if the vessel is all of the following:
  • Less than 3 m in length
  • Not a tender
  • Not carrying an engine or fuel
  • Not more than 200 m from nearest shore
  • Operating between sunrise and sunset
  • Built so as to float if swamped or capsized.
Tenders (if operating in enclosed waters, less than 3m in length and operating within 200 m of the shore) Exempt from carrying other safety equipment if the vessel carries a paddle or oars, a waterproof torch if operating between sunset and sunrise, a bucket/bailer or bilge pump.
Sailing vessels
  • If less than 6m in length and in enclosed waters is not required to carry an anchor
  • Not required to carry bucket/bailer if it has a permanently enclosed self draining hull
  • When engaged in organised sail training, is not required to carry safety equipment if a power driven vessel capable of use for rescue purposes is in attendance
  • Not required to have a Safety Label.
Off the beach vessels (means an unballasted, sail-only vessel, including centreboard dinghy, windsurfer, skiff or multihull vessel, but not including a vessel with a cabin or a fixed keel) Not required to carry safety equipment if the vessel does not have sufficient storage room.
Dragon boats/Outrigger canoes For more information on safety equipment requirements please refer to Schedule 8, Part 2 of Marine Safety Regulation 2016.

Exempt from carrying safety equipment. Also exempt from carrying a safety label, but must have a PWC behaviour label. For tow-in surfing the PWC must be equipped with:

  • A rescue sled
  • second kill switch wrapped around the handlebars
  • two-way communication device
  • dive fins
  • safety knife
  • tool kit
  • quick release floating tow rope with a minimum length of 7m
  • bow tow-line with a minimum length of 7m.

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