About the Australian Builders Plate

Find out about the Australian Builders Plate, including information on what vessels need it and how it will be enforced.

  What is an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP)?

An Australian Builders Plate (ABP) is a plaque that provides information on a recreational vessel's capability and capacity, providing details on:

  • Operational limits;
  • Person capacity;
  • Maximum loading;
  • Outboard engine rating and weight; and 
  • Buoyancy performance (for boats less than 6m).

The ABP was introduced across Australia in 2006 by the National Marine Safety Committee to improve recreational boating safety.

In 2020, Australian jurisdictions agreed to implement an updated version of the ABP standard, this is known as the Australian Builders Plate Standard Edition 5 (ABP Standard Edition 5). 

  What is the ABP Standard Edition 5?

A new updated edition of the National Standard for the Australian Builders Plate for Recreational Boats (the Standard) is now available.

The update to the Standard was authored by the Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee following an extensive national consultation process. It’s designed to improve clarity and ease of use, and to deliver better safety guidance for Australian boaters. 

Transport Safety Victoria is hosting the Standard on behalf of Australian state and territory marine safety agencies while a new national website is created to host it. The ABP Standard – Edition 5 is publicly available via the Transport Safety Victoria website below.

Please also view the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) links on that webpage for more information regarding the ABP Standard Edition 5.

The new standard is expected to apply Australia wide from 5 June 2021. For the updated standard to come into force, it must be enacted by respective state or territory legislation. 

Until WA legislation can be amended, the Department of Transport will accept for registration, vessels with ABP Standard Edition 3, 4 or 5. Once the legislation is amended, only vessels with the edition 5 standard will be accepted. 

Please refer back to this page for updates on the progress on adopting the new legislation. 

External Link ABP Standard Edition 5: Transport Safety Victoria

  Which vessels require ABPs?

Australian Builders Plates (ABP) are required for new recreational powered vessels that are either:

  • Offered for sale to the public for the first time.
  • Being registered in WA for the first time.

Vessels built before 2 September 2006, when the law was introduced, do not need an ABP. There are some other exceptions for special categories of boats. For more information, please go to Vessels exempted from ABPs.

  What information does an ABP contain?

There are a few templates that an Australian Builders Plate (ABP) can follow. All ABP must be 98mm wide, and between 100 and 138mm high.

All ABP must display the following information:

  • Boat builder’s name.
  • The build year and/ or hull identification number (HIN).
  • Maximum outboard engine/s weight (if vessel is designed to be powered by an outboard engine/s).
  • Maximum number and weight of persons.
  • Maximum load (includes the weight of all outboard engines, as these can be exchanged for heavier or lighter ones).
  • Buoyancy performance (required only on vessels less than 6 metres long).
  • Compulsory warning statement.

Some ABP may also display the following:

  • Maximum outboard engine power.
  • Optional warning statements.
  • Name of the standard used in determining the information on the ABP.

  How is the requirement for an ABP enforced?

Registration

The Department of Transport checks that a vessel has an Australian Builders Plate (ABP) when a person applies to register it for the first time.

If a vessel builder or dealer attempts to register a new vessel that does not comply with the ABP Standard, registration will be refused.

If a buyer applies to register a vessel which is required to have an ABP but doesn’t have one, registration may still be allowed if:

  • There is no reason to suspect that the vessel is unsafe.
  • There is no specific campaign not to achieve compliance with the ABP.

The seller's information will be sent to Consumer Protection for action.

Consumer protection

Consumer protection officers from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety check that vessels sold commercially comply with product information standards found in the Fair Trading (Product Information Standard) Regulations 2005 (WA). This includes checking that ABP are installed on all required vessels.

If you have purchased a new boat that does not have an ABP, please contact Consumer Protection by phoning 1300 304 054 or at consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au

Fisheries and Transport compliance monitoring

Compliance Officers may check a vessel's ABP if the vessel:

  • Is being investigated; or
  • Appears to be overloaded.

Using a vessel contrary to the information on the ABP is currently not an offence. However, if an incident occurs due to overloading or overpowering the vessel, the owner or skipper may have to justify why they did not comply with the limits stated on the ABP.

Boat builders and retailers are protected from responsibility for such incidents if the vessel was built in compliance with specified design and construction standards, and they have informed the user as to its operational limitations via the information on the ABP.

Opens in a new window Department of Commerce: Consumer Protection Division
Opens in a new window Department of Fisheries
Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Western Australian Legislation
Page last updated: Thu Mar 25 2021 10:15:59 AM