Safety equipment

Carrying the right safety equipment and knowing how to use it is essential. You must not operate a recreational vessel unless all safety equipment required to be carried on board is easy to reach and well maintained and serviced.

Everyone on board must know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works. Carrying safety equipment is no substitute for proper preparation. Always conduct a check of your safety equipment when planning a trip.

The equipment you need varies according to:

  • The type of vessel you are operating
  • The type of waterway you are on
  • Your proximity to the shore.

Human powered vessels

This table lists the minimum safety equipment requirements for human powered vessels (paddle craft) such as kayaks, canoes and rowing boats operating on Victorian waters. The links will take you to more information on the individual items of safety equipment and how to use them. 

          
Operating environment Lifejacket Torch Bailer Bilge pump Spare oars Orange smoke signals Red distress flares Compass EPIRB
Coastal offshore (>2nm from coast)  Type 1, 2 or 3 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 1
Coastal inshore (<2nm from coast) Type 1, 2 or 3   1 1      
Enclosed (bays and estuaries) Type 1, 2 or 3   1 1      
Inland (rivers, lakes & dams) Type 1, 2 or 3   1 1      
Special requirements One per person on board Must be waterproof and buoyant If no electric or manual bilge pumping system Electric or manual bilge pumping system (if vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than air tight void spaces) One pair of spare oars or paddles with rowlocks    

406M Hz EPIRBS only.
Must be registered Must be registered with Australian Maritime Safety Authority and comply with Australian and New Zealand standards

Powered vessels (other than PWCs)

This table lists the minimum safety equipment requirements for powered vessels operating on Victorian waters. The links will take you to more information on the individual items of safety equipment and how to use them. 

Operating Environment Coastal offshore (>2nm from coast) Coastal inshore (<2nm from coast) Enclosed (bays and estuaries) Inland (rivers, lakes & dams) Special requirements
Lifejacket Type 1 Type 1 Type 1 Type 1, 2 or 3 One per person on board or being towed
Approved fire extinguisher Y Y Y Y Where any fuel is carried, refer to fire extinguisher information to determine quantity and capacity
Waterproof buoyant torch 1 1 1 1  
Anchor with chain or line or both 1 1 1   
Bailer 1 1 1 1 If no electric or manual bilge pumping system
Bucket with lanyard 1 1 1 1 Can also double as a bailer
Electric or manual bilge pump 1 1 1 1 If vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments, other than airtight void spaces
Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles  1  1  1  1 If vessel is up to and including 4.8m in length
Orange smoke signals 2 2 2   
Red distress flares 2 2 2   
Lifebuoy 1 1 1 1 If vessel is 8m to 12m in length
Lifebuoy 2 2 2 2 If vessel is more than 12m in length
Dinghy or liferaft 1 1    If vessel is more than 12m in length
Compass 1     
Marine radio 1     
Red star parachute distress rocket 1     
406MHz EPIRB 1     Must be registered with Australian Maritime Safety Authority and comply with Australian and New Zealand standards

Personal watercraft (PWCs)

This table lists the minimum safety equipment requirements for PWCs such as jet skis, powerskis and jet bikes operating on Victorian waters. The links will take you to more information on the individual items of safety equipment and how to use them. 

    
Operating environment Lifejacket Torch EPIRB
Coastal offshore (more than 2nm from coast) Type 1, 2 or 3 1 1
Coastal inshore (less than 2nm from coast) Type 1, 2 or 3 1  
Enclosed (bays and estuaries) Type 1, 2 or 3 1  
Inland (rivers, lakes and dams) Type 1, 2 or 3 1  
Special requirements One per person on board or being towed Must be waterproof and buoyant 406MHz beacons only.
Must be registered with Australian Maritime Safety Authority and comply with Australian and New Zealand standards

Yachts

This table lists the minimum safety equipment requirements for yachts operating on Victorian waters. The links will take you to more information on the individual items of safety equipment and how to use them. 

Operating environment Coastal offshore (>2nm from coast) Coastal inshore (<2nm from coast) Enclosed (bays and estuaries) Inland (rivers, lakes & dams) Special requirements
Lifejackets Type 1 Type 1 Type 1 or 2 Type 1 or 2 One per person on board
Approved fire extinguisher Y Y Y Y Where any fuel is carried, refer to fire extinguisher information to determine quantity and capacity
Waterproof buoyant torch 1 1 1 1  
Anchor with chain or line or both 1 1 1   
Bailer 1 1 1 1 If no electric or manual bilge pumping system
Bucket with lanyard 1 1 1 1 Can also double as a bailer
Electric or manual bilge pump 1 1 1 1 If vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments
Hand held orange smoke signals 2 2 2   
Hand held red distress flares 2 2 2   
Lifebuoy 1 1 1 1 If vessel is 8m to 12m in length
Lifebuoy 2 2 2 2 If vessel is more than 12m in length
Dinghy or liferaft 1 1    If vessel is more than 12m in length
Compass 1     
Marine radio 1     
Red star parachute distress rocket 1     
406MHz EPIRB 1     Must be registered with Australian Maritime Safety Authority and comply with Australian and New Zealand standards

Off the beach sailing yachts

This table lists the minimum safety equipment requirements for off-the-beach yachts operating on Victorian waters.

          
Operating environment Lifejackets         Electric or manual bilge pump Hand held red distress flaresHand held orange smoke signals  Bailer Compass Marine radio Red star parachute distress  rocket 406MHz EPIRB
Coastal Offshore (>2nm from coast) Type 1 1 2  2 1 1  1 1 1
Coastal Inshore (<2nm from coast) Type 1 or 2 1    1     
Enclosed (bays and estuaries) Type 1 or 2 1    1     
Inland (rivers, lakes & dams) Type 1 or 2 1    1     
Special requirements One per person on board If vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments, other than airtight void spaces    If no electric or manual bilge pumping system and if vessel is not self draining without intervention from the crew     Must be registered with Australian Maritime Safety Authority and comply with Australian and New Zealand standards