Frequently asked questions

Here are some of the most common questions we receive about marine licensing and safety, with quick links to the best information to answer your query

Licensing

Do I need a marine licence if I already have commercial qualifications?
There are certain exemptions. Read more

Do I need a marine licence and vessel registration for a kayak?
Only if the vessel is fitted with a means of propulsion (regardless of engine size). Read more

Are interstate marine licences valid in Victoria?
A person who holds an interstate marine licence, restricted marine licence, or PWC endorsed marine licence may operate the equivalent vessel in Victoria for a period of three months. Read more

Are Victorian marine licences valid interstate?
We advise all Victorians who travel interstate to comply with local waterway rules. The links below will take you to the maritime safety authority in each state and territory.

Safety

What lifejacket do I need?
Try our online lifejacket selector at Wear A Lifejacket

How do I maintain an inflatable lifejacket?
View our guide here 

Are infant lifejackets safe?
We do not recommend taking infants on a recreational boat. Because of the varying weight distribution of babies it is difficult to design lifejackets which have flotation in the right places to keep babies afloat. The lifejackets currently available for newborns up to 10kg may not provide a proper fit or perform as expected. 

Do I need a distress beacon?
All recreational vessels heading out more than two nautical miles from the coast are required to carry an approved 406 Mhz EPIRB. However, it is recommended that all vessels venturing into coastal waters carry one. Read more 

How do I safely dispose of flares and distress beacons?
Contact your local police station to see if they will accept your expired flares. 

Distress beacons must be disabled before disposal. Check the EPIRB/PLB manufacturer's instructions for disablement, and see if your local battery store or waste/recycling facility can take the battery.

With regard to a vessel's loading capacity, are children counted?

In calculating the number of people on board a vessel:

  • a child up to and including one year of age is not counted
  • each child over one year and under 12 years is counted as 0.5 a person.

Read more about safe loading