What safety equipment do I need?

Find out what safety equipment you need for your vessel and type of activity.

Safety equipment changes
Changes are now in place for safety equipment requirements for recreational vessels. Visit the Safety equipment changes page to find out more.

You are required to carry safety equipment whenever you use your vessel.

The amount and type of equipment required depends on the type of vessel and the area you are operating in.

The safety equipment you may be required to carry includes:

Areas for vessel use

Protected waters

Protected waters includes rivers, lakes, estuaries, harbours and waters within 400 metres from the shore in unprotected waters but excludes the Cambridge Gulf and Lake Argyle.

Unprotected waters

Unprotected waters include waters beyond 400 metres from the shore.

Types of vessel

Registrable vessel

A registerable vessel is any vessel, including sailing vessels, that are or can be propelled by mechanical power. Registrable vessels must be registered with the Department of Transport (DoT).

Non-registrable vessel

Non-registrable vessels include tenders and sailing dinghies. These vessels do need to be registered with DoT.


A tender is a vessel that is:

  • no more than 3.1 metres long
  • has a motor no bigger than 5hp
  • used only as a lifeboat or for ship to shore transport.

Tenders do not need to be registered with DoT but must display the registration number of the parent vessel on both sides forward of the transom. You can find more information on our water activity pages or in the Safety equipment requirements document below.


Required safety equipment documents

Download the matrix and requirements brochure for more information on the safety equipment you need. 

Recommended safety equipment

Along with the required safety equipment you must carry on board, we also recommend you carry:

Maintenance and storage

All safety equipment must be:

  • in good condition and meet appropriate standards or specifications
  • maintained or serviced according to the manufacturer’s specifications
  • replaced before the manufacturer's expiry date (if applicable)
  • easy to find and access.

As skipper, you must ensure everyone on board knows how to use the safety equipment.

Take the 30 Second Challenge to test how quickly you can access your safety equipment.

Page last updated: Mon Jan 8 2024 11:00:00 AM