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 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. You can obtain a free hard copy of the handbook from any VicRoads office or, alternatively, contact us if you would like a copy posted to you at no cost.

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

Download Chapter 2 of the handbook in PDF or Word format:

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

Download Chapter 12 of the handbook in PDF or Word format:

Accessibility

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