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 on Victorian waters varies according to:

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

The below tables explain what minimum safety equipment must be CARRIED.
Refer to lifejacket laws to see when lifejackets must be WORN.

Lifejacket types
Type 1 is also known as Level 100+, Type 2 is Level 50, Type 3 is Level 50S.

Powered vessels (other than PWCs)

Operators of certain low-powered electric kayaks and canoes have a modified safety equipment requirement.

COASTAL OFFSHORE
(>2nm from coast)

COASTAL INSHORE 
(<2nm from coast)

ENCLOSED
(bays and estuaries)

INLAND
(rivers, lakes and dams)

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed)

Type 1

Type 1

Type 1

Type 1,2 or 3

Approved fire extinguisher

Where any fuel is carried, refer to fire fighting section to determine number and capacity required.

Waterproof buoyant torch

1

1

1

1

Anchor and chain or line or both

1

1

1

 

Bailer (if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)

1

1

1

1

Bucket with lanyard (can also double as a bailer)

1

1

1

1

Electric or manual bilge pumping system (if vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)

1

1

1

1

Pair of oars with rowlocks or pair of paddles (if vessel is up to and including 4.8m)

1

1

1

1

Hand held orange smoke signals

2

2

2

 

Hand held red distress flares

2

2

2

 

Lifebuoy (if vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)

1

1

1

1

Lifebuoy (if vessel is more than 12m in length)

2

2

2

2

Dinghy or liferaft (if vessel is more than 12m in length)

1

1

  

Compass

1

   

Marine radio

1

   

Red star parachute distress rocket

1

   

Registered EPIRB

1

  

Personal watercraft (PWCs)

All waters

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed)

Type 1, 2 or 3

Waterproof buoyant torch

1

Registered EPIRB

1 if more than 2nm from coast (coastal offshore)

Recreational tender

COASTAL OFFSHORE (>2nm from coast)

COASTAL INSHORE (<2nm from coast)

ENCLOSED (bays and estuaries)

INLAND (rivers, lakes and dams)

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed)

Type 1

Type 1

Type 1 or 2

Type 1,2 or 3

Yachts

COASTAL OFFSHORE (>2nm from coast)

COASTAL INSHORE (<2nm from coast)

ENCLOSED (bays and estuaries)

INLAND (rivers, lakes and dams)

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed)

Type 1

Type 1

Type 1 or 2

Type 1, 2 or 3

Approved fire extinguisher

Where any fuel is carried, refer to fire fighting section to determine number and capacity required.

Waterproof buoyant torch

1

1

1

1

Anchor and chain or line or both

1

1

1

 

Bailer (if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)

1

1

1

1

Bucket with lanyard (can also double as a bailer)

1

1

1

1

Electric or manual bilge pumping system (if vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)

1

1

1

1

Hand held orange smoke signals

2

2

2

 

Hand held red distress flares

2

2

2

 

Lifebuoy (if vessel is more than 8m but less than 12m in length)

1

1

1

1

Lifebuoy (if vessel is more than 12m in length)

2

2

2

2

Dinghy or liferaft (if vessel is more than 12m in length)

1

1

  

Compass

1

   

Marine radio

1

   

Red star parachute distress rocket

1

   

Registered EPIRB

1

  

Off-the-beach sailing yachts

COASTAL OFFSHORE (>2nm from coast)

COASTAL INSHORE (<2nm from coast)

ENCLOSED (bays and estuaries)

INLAND (rivers, lakes and dams)

Lifejacket (per person on board/towed)

Type 1

Type 1 or 2

Type 1 or 2

Type 1 or 2

Bailer (if no electric or manual bilge pumping system)

1 If vessel is not self-draining without intervention from the crew

Electric or manual bilge pumping system (if vessel has covered bilge or closed underfloor compartments other than airtight void spaces)

1

1

1

1

Hand held orange smoke signals

2

   

Hand held red distress flares

2

   

Compass

1

   

Marine radio

1

   

Red star parachute distress rocket

1

   

Registered EPIRB

1

  

Paddle craft

If your craft is only human powered, refer to our page about Paddle safety equipment.

If your paddle craft has a motor, refer to the above safety equipment list for powered vessels. Operators of certain low-powered electric kayaks and canoes have a modified safety equipment requirement.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you, your feedback is valuable to us.