Australian Builders Plate
The Australian Builders Plate is a national initiative that will make boating safer by providing vital information about the capacity and capability of boats. The Australian Builders Plate requires boat builders, importers or competent persons to determine boat-specific information and display it on the plate in a standard format. The information that needs to be provided includes:
- recommended maximum engine power rating and engine weight for outboard engines
- recommended maximum person capacity and maximum load
- buoyancy information – for vessels under 6m
- a warning statement about the alteration of the boat.
The information provided on the plate must be determined in accordance with Australian or international standards for recreational vessel design and construction. The plate itself is a statement by the manufacturer about the vessel. There are 2 types of builders plate, 1 for boats under 6m in length and another for boats 6m or more. The key difference is that vessels under 6m need to display buoyancy information, either basic or level flotation.
The information supplied on the plate will enable boat users to make more informed decisions when purchasing, as well as encouraging appropriate and responsible use of boats. In Queensland the requirement for an Australian Builders Plate will apply to all recreational vessels and to those commercial and fishing vessels that are exempt from registration under Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2004 that are constructed after 28 September 2006. Currently, there is a general safety obligation for these vessels however the Australian Builders Plate standard will promote awareness and increase safety standards in this area.
Buoyancy information – vessels less than 6m
Basic flotation means that the boat will float in some form if swamped. If the boat has capsized, it will remain afloat for you to possibly cling on to the upturned hull.
Level flotation means that the boat will continue to float in a level position if swamped and will be prevented from capsizing in calm water. This will allow you to remain in the boat and bail the vessel to remove the water.
Please note the above diagrams are illustrative only and apply in calm water.
The information supplied on the plate will enable boat users to make more informed decisions when purchasing, as well as encouraging appropriate and responsible use of boats.
Frequently asked questions
Why was the Australian Builders Plate introduced?
The Australian Builders Plate is a joint initiative of industry and government through the National Marine Safety Committee. A national standard was developed following an extensive consultation process which included workshops and meetings around Australia with the Australian Marine Industries Federation, boating industry associations, boat builders, manufacturers and importers.
The National Marine Safety Committee put together a regulatory impact statement for recreational vessels which highlighted that the primary vessels involved in fatalities were dinghies (57%), open motor boats and half cabins. Of these tragedies, 31% of the vessels were overpowered, 24% were overloaded and 12% of those less than 6m had inadequate stability or buoyancy.
At 36%, capsize was the most common initial event in all fatal incidences. The regulatory impact statement estimated that fatal and serious injuries associated with recreational boating costs Australians about A$52 million each year. There are on average 80 deaths and nearly 1000 people admitted to hospital each year as a result of boating incidents in Australia.
Who is a competent person?
A competent person is defined as being a person who has acquired through training, qualification, experience, or a combination of these, the knowledge and skills to enable that person to competently determine and approve the information on a builders plate. Any person approving the information on the plate is assuming responsibility for the information on that plate.
What type of boats need an Australian Builders Plate?
The Australan Builders Plate will apply to:
- all recreational vessels
- all commercial and fishing vessels that are exempt from registration under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2004 that are constructed after 28 September 2006.
In most circumstances an Australian Builders Plate will apply to personal watercraft that carry 3 or more people unless it already has clearly visible information affixed to the craft by the builder specifying the number of persons the personal watercraft may carry and the total weight of persons and equipment (expressed in kilograms) that the craft is capable of carrying as recommended by the builder. An Australian Builders Plate is not required on personal watercrafts that are designed to carry 2 or less people.
In most circumstances an Australian Builders Plate will apply to inflatable boats unless the vessel already has a plate affixed in accordance with the European Directive 94/25/EC, or a plate attached in accordance with the requirements of the United States National Marine Manufacturers Association and set out in their certification handbook.
What type of boats are not required to have an Australian Builders Plate?
- A second hand vessel
- An amphibious vehicle
- A canoe, kayak, or surf ski designed to be powered by paddle
- A pedal powered boat
- A rowing shell used for racing or rowing training
- A sailboard or sail kite or other similar ship
- A surf row boat
- A hydrofoil or hovercraft
- A sailing vessel
- A submersible
- An aquatic toy
- Registered commercial and fishing vessels
Where does the Australian Builders Plate need to be affixed?
The plate will be permanently fixed and readily visible to the boat's operator in the cockpit or near the steering position.
Is there still a requirement to attach a capacity label to vessels that have an Australian Builders Plate?
Generally no, because an Australian Builders Plate will qualify as a capacity label, but there are exceptions. In particular you will still need to attach a capacity label at any second steering position.
What advice should I follow if my capacity label and Australian Builders Plate have conflicting information?
The capacity label provides a person capacity of a boat that does not take into account swamping. The Australian Builders Plate person capacity for boats under 6m in length takes the capacity of a swamped boat into account. In the event of an inconsistency between the capacity label and the Australian Builders Plate, always assume that the lower capacity is the 1 to use. As a general rule, the Australian Builders Plate will provide information that is based on a more comprehensive assessment. If in doubt, obtain clarification from the manufacturer or the person who approved the information on the Australian Builders Plate.
Where can I obtain an Australian Builders Plate?
Queensland builders should contact:
National Retailers Association Building
6 Overend St, East Brisbane QLD 4169
Telephone: 3240 0170z
Facsimile: 3891 5293w
For further information about the Australian Builders Plate in Queensland contact the National Marine Safety Committee.
zLocal call – higher rates may apply outside local area or from mobile phones.
wLocal call – higher rates may apply outside local area.