Boating behaviours and initiatives

Find out about important safe recreational boating behaviours ensuring a safe day on the water.

  Deckee app

About Deckee

Deckee is a free app that places vital safety information for WA waterways at peopleís fingertips as they prepare to and spend time on the water.

Following the completion of a tender process in 2019, DoT formed a partnership with Deckee to enhance the WA marine information available on its free platform. The initiative is one part of a larger DoT strategy to reduce incidents and fatalities on the water and make waterways safer.

The app provides location-based data including navigation aids, speed zones and webcams in an interactive format, which will not only inform skippers while they are out on the water, it will give DoT insights into boating behaviour.

Information to plan a safe day on the water is also available including safety equipment requirements, public mooring locations, jetties, ski area boundaries, boat ramp locations and more. The app also provides direct access to weather forecasts and its many handy tools are suited to those who are on the water for recreation, those working in the marine sector and others in the broader community.

Safety information at your fingertips:

  • your vesselís position
  • detailed weather forecasts
  • boat ramps, courtesy and emergency mooring locations
  • speed zones, powerlines and activity areas
  • port and marine park boundaries

Handy tools:

  • Receive safety alerts
  • Reminders for safety equipment and registration
  • Find a GPS validation marker
  • Access Department of Transport coast cams
  • Distance measuring and bearing tool
  • Find a safe boating display location and facility
  • Official WA maritime safety information hub
  • Interact with other users with tips and warnings in real time

Deckee is available now for FREE download from the App Store and Google Play Store. 

Why Deckee?

Deckee was born through a Boating Companion Innovation Challenge run by NSW Maritime in 2017, where app developers were asked to create an app that covered a scope of work based around discussions of the Australian, New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group.

Since the innovation challenge NSW and Tasmania have been sharing real time specific information with their waterway users and all other States have been sharing general boating information. Deckee can be used throughout Australia.

Download Deckee 

Download the free app on IOS or Android today.

Get Deckee on Google Play

Download Deckee on the App Store


Close up of person using Deckee app on mobile phone

  Make a difference lifejacket program

The Make a difference, maintain and wear your lifejacket program shows boaties how to service their lifejackets and promotes the importance of wearing a lifejacket while boating.

The program builds on the success of DoTís Old4New lifejacket replacement program launched in 2016 in partnership with the Royal Lifesaving Society of Western Australia and resulting in more than 5,000 old, damaged or obsolete lifejackets removed from recreational vessels throughout WA Ė  replaced with new, easy to wear inflatable lifejackets.

As part of the new program boaties will be able to participate in special clinics to learn how to maintain their lifejacket and vouchers are available to assist with the cost of servicing or replacing a lifejacket when required.

DoT will deliver the campaign with the valued assistance of its retail partners throughout WA who share a commitment to the promotion of boating safety.

Key information about the program:

  • The Make a difference program will visit metropolitan and regional boat ramps during the year, where DoT officers will deliver lifejacket clinics showing boaties how to maintain a lifejacket.
  • There are limited places at each clinic and registration is required to participate or phone 13 11 56 and ask to be transferred to Safety Education to book a spot.
  • Depending on the attendance numbers the clinics should run for about 45 minutes.
  • At the clinic parts will be provided free of charge to ensure your lifejacket is fully operational.
  • If your lifejacket is deemed unserviceable or the clinic does not have the parts to service your lifejacket you will receive a $30 voucher, that can be redeemed at a Make a difference retail partner.
  • A maximum of four vouchers per family can be redeemed at a retail partner.
  • The retail partner will take $30 off the recommended retail price of the lifejacket or cost of new parts when you present the voucher.
  • Vouchers are valid for 30 days after being issued.

Retailer partners and frequently asked questions are available for further information about the program.

Lifejacket clinic times and locations

You can also properly dispose of your out-of-date flares and EPIRBs at the lifejacket clinics. Choose from the following times and locations and register using the button below.

Guidelines apply, and numbers are limited at lifejacket clinics.


Dates Location Time
Wednesday 11 January Lyon Cove Boat Ramp, Bunbury 8:00 am - 10:00 am
Wednesday 11 January  Bunbury Yacht Club, Bunbury  5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Thursday 12 January Quindalup Boat Ramp, Quindalup 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Tuesday 17 January Jurien Bay Marina, Jurien Bay  5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Saturday 11 February  Mary Street Boat Ramp, Halls Head  9:00 am - 10:00 am
Sunday 12 February  East Fremantle Boat Ramp  9:00 am - 10:00 am
Saturday 25 February  Hillarys Boat Harbour Boat Ramp  9:00 am - 10:00 am
Register for a clinic



Participating retailers - Make a difference program

Location Retailer
Albany BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Albany GB Marine
Albany Rusty's Marine
Albany Watercraft Marine
Augusta Augusta X-treme Outdoor Sports and Camping
Balcatta BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Balcatta Getaway Outdoors
Belmont BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Broome Broome Boat Shop
Bunbury Anaconda Bunbury
Bunbury BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Bunbury  Bluewater Marine
Bunbury Millard Marine
Bunbury Sportsmarine Boat Centre
Busselton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Butler Anaconda Butler
Butler BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Cannington Anaconda Cannington
Cannington BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Carnarvon Tel-O-Mac Tackle Shop
Cockburn BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Cockburn Getaway Outdoors
Coral Bay Coral Bay Supermarket
Derby Big Barras One Stop Shop
Dunsborough Bosun Marine
Esperance Moby Marine Services
Esperance Southern Sports and Tackle
Esperance Tatey's Tackleworld
Exmouth Exmouth Tackle and Camping
Exmouth Tackle World Exmouth
Geraldton BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Geraldton Getaway Outdoors
Geraldton Max Marine
Hillarys RecFishWest
Innaloo Anaconda Innaloo
Joondalup Anaconda Joondalup
Joondalup BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Jurien Bay Jurien Bay Marine Supplies
Kalgoorlie BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Karratha Adventure Sports
Kelmscott Getaway Outdoors
Kununurra East Kimberley Marine
Malaga BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Malaga Searano Marine
Mandurah BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Mandurah Mandurah Outboards
Mandurah Tackle World & Outdoors Mandurah
Mandurah Tackle World Miami
Melville Anaconda Melville
Mt Claremont Royal Life Saving WA
Midland Anaconda Midland
Midland BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Myaree BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
O'Connor Ocean Life Marine
O'Connor West  Offshore Products
Osborne Park BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Port Hedland GT Diving
Port Hedland Pilbara Boats N Bikes
Rockingham Anaconda Rockingham
Rockingham BCF (Boating, Camping and Fishing Store)
Rockingham Rockingham Boating
Walpole Walpole Hardware and Rural Supplies
Wangara Hi Tech Marine

Retailers wishing to be part of the Make a difference program should contact

  30 Second Challenge - test your readiness for an emergency

The Department of Transport (DoT) wants those heading out on the water to be prepared and is advocating skippers and passengers take the 30 Second Challenge which tests readiness for an emergency response on board a vessel.

This initiative, which tests if people can gather flares, EPIRB, make a radio call and put on a lifejacket in 30 seconds, responds to boating incidents data which showed that better maintenance of safety gear and improved accessibility could have limited the number of boating tragedies.

The 30 Second Challenge occurs at boat ramps State wide and is delivered by Marine Safety Education Officers. There is an incentive for boaters to take part. The boater who can successfully complete the challenge the fastest will be given a marine safety pack. The pack will include:

  • Marine Safety bailer.
  • Offshore flare kit.
  • Inflatable Level 150 automatic lifejacket.

The 30 Second Challenge is not limited to the boat ramp events, take the opportunity next time you plan on going boating. How quickly can you get to your safety gear? Remember nothing is faster than disaster!

Education Officers will be conducting  safety equipment checks from Bunbury to Albany in October 2020 and give Skippers as well as all crew the opportunity to take the 30 second challenge.


Keep up to date

If you would like to receive information about when and where future 30 Second Challenge opportunities will be held please complete the online form and sign up to our Boating Communities Newsletter.

Marine Safety Facebook

Join us on Facebook to be part of WA's boating community. The Marine Safety WA Facebook page provides information on safe navigation and safe use of State waters, marine environment protection and marine emergencies.

Facebook logo Join the Marine Safety WA Facebook page

  Routine maintenance 'BEST' boat check

To assist skippers and reduce the number of boating breakdowns DoT has developed the BEST boat check. The BEST check should be completed prior to every trip to ensure your Boat, Equipment, Safety equipment and Trailer are all in good order for a day on the water.

  • Boat.
  • Equipment.
  • Safety.
  • Trailer.

The BEST check ensures your day is not ruined by an oversight, it's a quick activity to give peace of mind.

A well serviced boat should not let you down. The annual 45 point check will help skippers identify issues before they become a problem, but it all starts with having a regular service. Take the time to have your boat serviced at least once a year.

The BEST and 45 point annual checks lists will not cover all types of boats and voyages but there's no doubt they can help make your next voyage less stressful and possibly much more enjoyable.

  Don't go overboard on alcohol

Don't go overboard on alcohol
Don't go overboard on alcohol

Understand the risks and your responsibility

Whether you are going fishing, skiing, diving or just cruising, when you mix alcohol with your boating activity the consequences can be fatal.

In a boat, the combination of wind, waves and the sun can all magnify the effects of alcohol and really affect your judgement and skills. This goes for everyone;†the skipper, the passengers and the crew.

Remember to drink responsibly when boating

It is an offence to operate a vessel while affected by alcohol or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vessel, Section 59(2) of the Western Australian Marine Act 1982.

Drivers of vehicles leaving boat ramps, yacht clubs and marinas can be prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act 1974.

The general guidelines for standard alcohol consumption are:

  • Men: No more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink every following hour.
  • Women: No more than one standard drink every hour.
Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Road Traffic Act 1974
Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)

  Don't let safety expire

Don't expire sticker
Don't expire sticker

Overview and disposal advice

Find out about not letting safety equipment expiry dates lapse, including tips and how to obtain your reminder sticker.

Skippers are encouraged to check the expiry date on flares and other safety equipment before heading out on the water.

As every responsible skipper knows, there are certain items in the safety equipment list that have an expiry date.

Such dates are applied in a bid to ensure this equipment will work when needed, which can include life-threatening circumstances.

Safety gear that carry expiry dates include flares, EPIRBs and inflatable lifejackets.

  • For unserviceable EPIRB disposal advice, go to EPIRBs.
  • For unserviceable flare disposal advice, go to Flares.

Tips to remember expiry dates

Don't let safety equipment expire. Set a reminder alarm by:

  • Putting the dates in your calendar.
  • Putting the dates in your mobile phone.
  • Writing it on the DoT Don't Expire sticker (see below) and place it on your boat.
  • Writing it on the DoT bailer and keeping it on your boat.

Responsible skippers should ensure the safety equipment is well maintained and accessible, that passengers know where it is stored, how to use it and when to use it. In an emergency on the water, properly functioning safety equipment can be the key to survival and there can be tragic consequences if it isn't in good working order.

Take the opportunity next time you plan on going boating to complete a 30 second challenge. How quickly can you get to your safety gear? Remember nothing is faster than disaster!

To obtain a sticker, visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

  What is the Junior Crew Program?

The Junior Crew Pack is a marine safety educational resource for primary school students in Years 3, 4 and 5. It focuses on 3 key marine safety topics:

  • Safe use of boats.
  • Personal boating safety.
  • Safety of others when boating.

The program was introduced to present important marine safety knowledge and skills from the Recreational Skipper's Ticket (RST) in a way that primary aged students can appreciate.

It was developed by the DoT's Marine Education Boatshed in partnership with:

  • Department of Education.
  • School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Students are awarded a Junior Crew Certificate upon completion of a number of worksheets, activities and tasks.

This resource is available FREE to teachers in Western Australian primary schools.

Opens in a new window Department of Education
Opens in a new window School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA)

  Lookout when on the water

Fast facts - marine safety
Fast facts - marine safety
Lookout message images
Lookout message images

There is nothing more important to boating safety than keeping a lookout. When boating, danger can come from different directions, so maintaining a proper lookout is crucial to boating safely. In fact, maintaining a proper lookout is one of the navigation rules.

WA Marine Act

In the WA Marine Act 1982 Prevention of Collisions at Sea Regulations 1983; Rule-5 Lookout 'Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.' AustLII: Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)

Simply put, look around and listen for danger so you can make good decisions and avoid hitting another boat, something in the water, or even land.

Proper Lookout

The key to maintaining a proper lookout is simply making it a habit and using common sense.

Skippers who fail to keep a proper lookout not only endanger their own lives and those of their passengers, they also jeopardise the safety of other water users.

View the YouTube video below to find out more on keeping a Proper Lookout.

How do you maintain a proper lookout?

Just looking about occasionally will not do. If you are the skipper of the boat, take the following action:

  1. Tell someone to be the lookout. Assign one of your passengers with the task of lookout and position them so that they can easily see in all directions.
  2. Both the skipper and the lookout watch carefully while the boat is moving. If something is spotted, share the information clearly.
  3. Be prepared to take action if you see danger. You may need to turn, slow down or take other action.
  4. Avoid complacency, as the skipper of a boat, it is your responsibility to maintain a proper lookout at all times.


  • Lookout for anything that could present a danger such as other boats, land, sand bars, rocks, reefs, buoys or lights, crab/cray pots, debris in the water, marine mammals, poor light and discoloured water.
  • Tell passengers to report anything they see along with the direction and distance from the vessel.
  • Remain alert and give your full attention to the task.


The image files below are provided for promotion of the Lookout safety campaign. By downloading and using these images you agree to use the whole image and not alter the artwork in any way.

Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)
Opens in a new window Keep a Proper Lookout: YouTube video by NSW Maritime

  Take care - be prop aware

The most dangerous thing in the water is not what you think.

Boat propellers pose a risk that can be easily ignored or forgotten because they are under the water, 'out of sight and out of mind'. But a strike from a spinning propeller can cause serious injury or even death.

A typical three bladed propeller:

  • Spins at around 3200 rpm.
  • Can make more than 100 impacts per second.
  • Can travel from head to toe of an average person in less than one tenth of a second, causing multiple deep wounds.

Boat propeller injuries, if not fatal, are usually severe and disfiguring, resulting in prolonged disability and permanent impairment.

Prop aware sticker
Prop aware sticker

Propeller safety tips

Here are some tips that skipper's should do to avoid injuring a person in the water:

  • Inspect the area near the back of the boat to ensure the area is clear before starting the engine.
  • Turn the engine off near people in the water even when retrieving a skier as some propellers may continue to spin even in neutral.
  • Make sure your passengers are aware of the dangers.
  • Keep a proper lookout at all times, especially when near swimmers, snorkelers, divers or any other activity.
  • Stay out of designated swimming areas.
  • Look out for dive flags and keep 50 metres clear.
  • Attach a propeller guard.
  • Keep all arms and legs inside the boat and not over the bow, sides or stern at all times. This is not only dangerous but also illegal.

The skipper of every boat is responsible for the safety of their passengers, so every skipper should be vigilant and consider the area around the prop as a hazard zone.

Skippers are encouraged to put a Take Care, Be Prop Aware sticker on the transom of their boat, as a reminder to everyone onboard of the hidden dangers of spinning propellers.

To obtain a sticker, visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

  You're the skipper

You're the skipper sticker
You're the skipper sticker

The Department of Transport is challenging skippers throughout Western Australia (WA) to take responsibility for their actions on the water. This campaign aims to reduce the number of boating incidents in WA.

Skippers are responsible for:

  • The safety of their vessel.
  • Those on board.
  • Other water users operating nearby.

Skippers have direct control over the major factors which contribute to incidents on the water, and must do their part to reduce incidents and deaths by:

  • Taking control.
  • Always observing the regulations.
  • Meeting the safety requirements for their vessel.

Skipper responsibilities checklist

  1. Check the weather and tides. If in doubt about any of the conditions, don't go.
  2. Tell someone where you plan to go and when you intend to return. If your plans change, let them know.
  3. Make sure your boat is suitable and capable of making the trip.
  4. Carry all necessary supplies such as fuel, food and water in case of an emergency.
  5. Study a chart or local boating guide of the waters you intend cruising.
    1. Are you familiar with the many dangers on the water?
    2. Check for rocks or submerged obstructions and various speed limits and local laws.
  6. Ensure that all safety equipment is operational and in easy reach.
  7. Let everyone know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works.
  8. Check, and double check, that your craft is not overloaded.
  9. Check that your marine radio works.
  10. Maintain boat stability by centrally loading your boat.
  11. Make sure you and your crew can handle the boat properly.
  12. Be sure lifejackets fit all passengers properly and are in easy reach, in bad weather, when boating alone, if you are a weak swimmer or when you are not comfortable they should be worn at all times.
  13. Consider the needs of all of your passengers. Do they have any special medical problems? Are they prone to sea sickness?
  14. You can delegate various jobs to people on board, this adds to the fun of a voyage as well as giving every person a sense of responsibility.
  15. A final check of basic mechanics. Has there been regular maintenance, particularly on the steering gear?

Download, print, laminate and display this checklist on your vessel.

A sticker is available providing information about the new safety equipment requirements.

For a copy of the You're the skipper quick reference sticker visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

Image of boats heading out to sea

Page last updated: Tue Jan 10 2023 3:47:50 PM