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Boat Safety Equipment In Australia | What You Need [List]

This guide is a state-by-state list of boat safety equipment in Australia. It applies to registered, powered boats.

Safety equipment needed for unregistered boats, or boats such as yachts or PWCs may differ from state to state. To get more information on these types of boats, click into the provided Government link for your state.

This guide was created in May 2021, and the information was taken directly from each state’s website. We highly recommend reviewing the boat safety equipment rules on your state’s official website before you go onto the water, in case of changes since this article was published. You’ll find a link to the official state’s rules in each section.

Table of contents

  1. QLD
  2. NSW
  3. VIC
  4. WA
  5. SA
  6. NT
  7. TAS

QLD

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for QLD.

Must have

Equipment Smooth waters Partially smooth waters Beyond partially smooth waters
EPIRB or PLB*  
Flares

2 red hand-held and 2 orange smoke

Fire fighting equipment
Signalling device

If operating at between sunset and sunrise (e.g. torch, lantern, glow stick)

V sheet
Lifejacket ✔ Lifejacket level 50, 100, 150, 275 or level 50 special purpose ✔ Lifejacket level 100, 150, 275 or level 50 ✔ Lifejacket level 100, 150, 275

Should have

Equipment Smooth waters Partially smooth waters Beyond partially smooth waters
Anchor ✔ (with cable appropriate for size of vessel) ✔ (with cable appropriate for size of vessel) ✔ (with cable appropriate for size of vessel)
Chart  
Compass  
Drinking water
Handheld electronic navigation device

If not equipped with a chart and compass

Oars or paddles

For boats under 6m

Pumping or bailing equipment

Official government boat safety guidelines for QLD.

NSW

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for NSW.

Must have

Equipment Enclosed waters Open waters
Lifejacket  ✔ 1 per person, level 50S or greater ✔ 1 per person, level 100 or greater
Anchor and chain/line to suit vessel size/weight and sea floor.
Bailer/bucket/fire bucket with lanyard.
Bilge pump(s)

Manual or power operated for vessels with covered bilge(s) or closed under-floor compartments (other than airtight void spaces). Must be capable of draining each compartment.

✔ (Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels) ✔ (Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels)
Compass

Fluid filled magnetic.

Distress flare

Orange smoke hand-held (in date)

✔ (2 required)
Distress flare

Red hand-held (in date)

✔ (2 required)
Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB)

406MHz. Must be in date (according to the manufacturer’s expiry date) and properly registered with AMSA.

✔ (Required if two nautical miles or more offshore)
Fire extinguisher(s)

For vessels with electric start, electric motors, battery, gas or fuel stoves.

✔ (Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels) ✔ (Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels)
Map/chart for area of operation (paper or electronic).
Marine radio ✔ (Required if two nautical miles or more offshore)
Paddles or oars and rowlocks

In vessels under 6m unless a second means of propulsion is fitted.

Safety label appropriate to vessel type.
Sound signal

Air horn/whistle/bell.

V sheet

Minimum dimensions 1.8m x 1.2m.

Water suitable for drinking. ✔ (2L per person)
Waterproof torch

Floating and operational.

Official government boat safety guidelines for NSW.

VIC

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for VIC.

Equipment Coastal offshore

(>2nm from coast

Coastal inshore 

(<2nm from coast)

Enclosed

(bays and estuaries)

Inland

(rivers, lakes and dams)

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed) Type 1 Type 1 Type 1 Type 1, 2, or 3
Approved fire extinguisher Where any fuel is carried, refer to VIC’s fire fighting guidelines to determine number and capacity required. Where any fuel is carried, refer to VIC’s fire fighting guidelines to determine number and capacity required. Where any fuel is carried, refer to VIC’s fire fighting guidelines to determine number and capacity required. Where any fuel is carried, refer to VIC’s fire fighting guidelines to determine number and capacity required.
Waterproof buoyant torch 1 1 1 1
Anchor and chain or line or both 1 1 1
Bailer

If no electric or manual bilge pumping system

1 1 1 1
Bucket with lanyard

Can also double as a bailer

1 1 1 1
Electric or manual bilge pumping system

If vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces

1 1 1 1
Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles

If vessel is up to and including 4.8m

1 1 1 1
Hand held orange smoke signals 2 2 2
Hand held red distress flares 2 2 2
Lifebuoy

If vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length

1 1 1 1
Lifebuoy

If vessel is more than 12m in length

2 2 2 2
Dinghy or liferaft

If vessel is more than 12m in length

1 1  
Compass 1    
Marine radio 1    
Red star parachute distress rocket 1    
Registered EPIRB 1    

Official government boat safety guidelines for VIC.

WA

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for WA.

Equipment In protected waters 0-2 nautical miles from shore 2-5 nautical miles from shore Over 5 nautical miles from shore
Recreational Skipper’s Ticket The skipper of a recreational vessel, powered by a motor greater than 6hp (4.5kwp) must hold an RST.
Bilge Pump/Bailer

All vessels must carry a bilge pump. Vessels under 7 metres may carry a bailer in lieu of a bilge pump.

Fire Extinguisher Vessels with an inboard engine or carrying hydrocarbon heating or cooling appliances must carry an approved fire extinguisher.
Anchor and Line

An efficient anchor and line must be carried.

Lifejacket

A lifejacket bearing the Australian standard AS 4758 – Level 100 (or higher) or as prescribed in the table opposite, must be carried for every person onboard.

✔ (Level > 100) ✔ (Level > 100) ✔ (Level > 100)
2 Red and 2 Orange Flares (in date)

At least 2 hand held red flares and 2 hand held orange smoke signals must be carried. 2 parachute flares may be carried in lieu of the 2 hand held red flares and a smoke canister may be carried in lieu of the smoke signals.

Distress Beacon (in date)

EPIRBs (AS/NZS 4280.1) for boats and PWC. PLBs (AS/NZS 4280.2) for kite, windsurf and paddle craft. Distress Beacons must be registered with AMSA and must be carried if proceeding more than 2 n miles from the mainland shore or more than 400 metres from an island located more than 2 n miles from the mainland shore. 

2 Parachute Flares (in date) A minimum of 2 parachute flares must be carried if operating more than 5 n miles from the mainland shore or more than 1 n mile from an island located more than 5 n miles from the mainland shore.
Marine Radio

A marine radio must be carried if operating more than 5 n miles from the mainland shore or more than 1 n mile from an island located more than 5 n miles from the mainland shore. The radio can be 27 MHz, VHF or HF.

Official government boat safety guidelines for WA.

SA

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for SA.

Vessels under 8 metres

Equipment Protected waters

These include all inland waters, excluding Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and any other waters subject to tidal influence.

Semi-protected waters

These are waters up to two nautical miles from the low-water mark of the coast of mainland South Australia and Kangaroo Island and from the banks of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert (and also the Coorong).

Unprotected waters

These are waters more than two nautical miles from the low-water mark of the coast and from the banks of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.

One personal flotation device (PFD) ✔ (Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3 for each person on board) ✔ (Type 1 for each person on board) ✔ (Type 1 for each person on board)
Bailer with line attached or a bilge pump ✔ (1 required) ✔ (1 required)
Suitable anchor with cable ✔ (1 required) ✔ (1 required)
If the boat has an engine or cooking facilities, one fire extinguisher
If the vessel is being operated between sunset and sunrise, one waterproof and buoyant torch or lantern
One fire bucket
A pair of paddles or oars if your vessel is under six metres
Two hand-held red flares and two hand-held orange smoke signals
One waterproof and buoyant torch or lantern
A two-way marine radio capable of communication with onshore stations
Four litres of fresh water
The boat must be fitted with a compass, preferably liquid damped. A GPS is not a compass.

Vessels over 8 metres

Equipment Protected waters

These include all inland waters, excluding Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert and any other waters subject to tidal influence.

Semi-protected waters

These are waters up to two nautical miles from the low-water mark of the coast of mainland South Australia and Kangaroo Island and from the banks of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert (and also the Coorong).

Unprotected waters

These are waters more than two nautical miles from the low-water mark of the coast and from the banks of Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.

One personal flotation device (PFD) ✔ (Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3 for each person on board) ✔ (Type 1 for each person on board) ✔ (Type 1 for each person on board)
Bailer with line attached or a bilge pump ✔ (1 required) ✔ (2 required) ✔ (2 required)
Suitable anchor with cable ✔ (1 required) ✔ (2 required) ✔ (2 required)
If the boat has an engine or cooking facilities, two fire extinguishers
If the vessel is being operated between sunset and sunrise, one waterproof and buoyant torch or lantern
One fire bucket
One life-buoy with line
Two hand-held red flares and two hand-held orange smoke signals
One waterproof and buoyant torch or lantern
A two-way marine radio capable of communication with onshore stations
Four litres of fresh water
The boat must be fitted with a compass, preferably liquid damped. A GPS is not a compass.

Official government boat safety guidelines for SA.

NT

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for NT.

Equipment Inland waters

Non tidal rivers, lakes, dams and billabongs

Intermediate waters
All tidal rivers, declared sheltered waters areas and all other coastal waters up to 2 nautical miles from the coastline 
Open waters
Means beyond intermediate waters
One approved personal flotation device for each person on board 
One anchor fitted with not less than 3 metres of chain shackled between the anchor and rope of not less than 50 metres overall length ✔ (Two if vessel is over 10 metres in length) ✔ (Two if vessel is over 10 metres in length)
Two paddles or oars fitted with rowlocks for all vessels under 5 metres in length unless fitted with an auxiliary means of propulsion
One bailer (fitted with lanyard) or bilge pump. A bilge pump is required for all vessels with covered bilges. 
Fresh drinking water in a leak proof container (two litres for each person on board) 
One waterproof torch
Two red flares 
Two orange smoke signals 
One V distress sheet 
Portable fire extinguisher (one if the vessel is between 5 and 10 metres in length / two if the vessel is over 10 metres in length. Not required for vessels under 5 metres.)
Two 9L buckets with lanyards for vessels over 10 metres in length
One compass or operational GPS
Electronic or paper chart for the area of intended operation 
One lifebuoy (for vessels over 10 metres) 
One registered EPIRB

Full boat safety equipment guidelines for NT.

TAS

This is the full list of boat safety equipment for TAS.

Equipment Smooth waters Sheltered waters Coastal waters
Anchor, Rope and Chain
Bailer/ Bilge Pump
Life Jacket

for all on board – must be AS4758

(Level 50 or greater)

(Level 100 or greater)

(Level 100 or greater)

Fire Extinguisher
Oars / Auxiliary Propulsion

(Boats Under 6m only)

Flares Recommended

(2 x Orange &

2 x Red)

(2 x Orange

2 x Red 2 x Parachute))

Marine Radio (VHF) Recommended Recommended
Heaving Line Recommended (Boats over 6m only)
Lifebuoy Recommended (Boats over 6m only)

(All boats)

EPIRB

(GPS enabled preferred)

Recommended Recommended
Radar Reflector Recommended Recommended
First Aid Kit and Water Recommended Recommended

Official government boat safety guidelines for TAS.