Paddle Safe Paddle Smart

Figures show that the fatality rate among paddlers is increasing. Maritime Safety Victoria is determined to alert paddlers to the importance of wearing a lifejacket and carrying multiple means of raising the alarm.

Paddling behaviour and incident reports

David Hourigan, Director of Transport Safety Victoria (TSV), said he was concerned by study findings that come at a time when kayaks, canoes, sit on top kayaks, stand up paddleboards and surf skis are increasing in popularity.

"I welcome the Coroners Court report that examined data from 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2016 and found that, of 107 recreational boater deaths, 19 (17.8 per cent) were paddlers.

"The 19 deceased paddlers were all males and not one had a means of raising the alarm.

"Eleven of the paddlers had a lifejacket with them and seven were wearing them - but only five had them correctly fitted."

A market research study commissioned by MSV found that paddlers thought their activity was low risk and this attitude is at odds with the Coroners findings.

Consultation: Trial exemption for low-powered paddle craft

In 2016 the Red Tape Commissioner requested the Director, Transport Safety (Safety Director) to review the requirements applicable to kayaks and canoes fitted with low-powered electric motors. 

The Red Tape Commissioner noted that in other eastern states certain low-powered vessels are either exempt from registration and licensing requirements or these requirements do not apply. The Safety Director subsequently undertook a review into these requirements.

This consultation paper has been prepared to seek feedback on a proposed trial exemption from vessel registration and marine licensing requirements for owners and masters of low-powered electric paddle craft.

The views and comments received from stakeholders in response to this paper will be taken into consideration in deciding whether to proceed with the trial and in determining its scope and duration.

Low-powered electric paddlecraft image 

As Victoria's maritime safety regulator, Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is seeking feedback on the questions set out in this document as well as any other general comments interested parties may have in relation to the proposed trial.

Download the consultation paper as a pdf or accessible Word document, ways to provide feedback are included: