Recreational Boating Safety Handbook

The Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook contains guidance and safety information for all recreational boaters, including sailors, kayakers, canoeists, rowers, wakeboarders, water-skiers, and kitesurfers.

The Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook is a valuable reference if you are applying for a marine licence or a personal watercraft endorsement.

The complete handbook is available to download below in PDF or Word format.
It is also available to download by chapter to ease download times.
Hard copies of the handbook are currently unavailable for posting.

Introduction

  • Legislative framework
  • About Maritime Safety Victoria
  • Maritime definitions
  • Definitions of waterways
  • Maps showing coastal, enclosed and inland waters in Victoria

Download the Introduction to the handbook in PDF or Word format. 

Chapter 1 - Safety duties

  • Duties to take reasonable care

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Chapter 2 - Licensing and registration

  • Recreational marine licensing
  • Types of marine licence
  • Operating under supervision
  • Hire and drive requirements
  • Obtaining a marine licence
  • Vessel registration requirements

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Chapter 3 - Vessel preparation

  • Before you go boating
  • Fit for purpose
  • Seasonal maintenance schedule
  • Pre-start check list

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Chapter 4 - Safety equipment

  • Minimum safety equipment
  • Minimum safety equipment requirements for mechanical, sail and
    human powered vessels
  • Lifejackets
  • Fire fighting
  • Distress signalling equipment
  • Compass
  • Anchor
  • Marine radio

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Chapter 5 - Trip preparation

  • Planning your trip
  • Let someone know before you go
  • Navigation planning
  • Marine weather information
  • Weather hazards and conditions
  • Safety hints

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Chapter 6 - Safe operations

  • Safe operations
  • Safe loading
  • Boat handling
  • Inland waters
  • Crossing ocean bars

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Chapter 7 - Towed watersports

  • Towed water sports
  • Observer
  • Towing
  • Hand signals

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Chapter 8 - Personal watercraft (PWCs)

  • Personal watercraft licensing
  • Education
  • Registration
  • Safety equipment
  • Carrying capacity
  • Towed watersports
  • Safe speed
  • Keep your distance
  • Avoiding accidents
  • PWC operator conduct
  • Rules
  • Safety first

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Chapter 9 - Operating rules

  • Navigation
  • Steering and sailing rules
  • Responsibilities between vessels
  • Operating at night
  • Operating rules
  • Environmental and wildlife regulations

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Chapter 10 - Aids to navigation

  • Buoyage system for ports, enclosed and coastal waters
  • Boating zone buoyage
  • Boating zone marks and signage

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Chapter 11 - Vessel lights, day shapes and sound signals

  • Vessel navigation lights
  • Day shapes for vessels
  • Sound and light signals
  • Conduct of vessels in restricted visibility

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Chapter 12 - Emergency procedures

  • Emergency procedures
  • Fire
  • Man overboard
  • Abandoning vessel
  • First aid
  • Rescue by helicopter
  • Reporting incidents and accidents

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Accessibility

Please contact us if you have trouble downloading the documents or if you have any specific accessibility requirements.