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  • Boat registration
    All boats with an engine of 3kW or more are required to be registered if they are on the water. Boats that are used entirely for private recreation are required to be registered as recreational boats. Boats that are used for purposes other than recreation (school, surf lifesaving or community activities) are registered as other or prescribed other Queensland regulated ships, which may be fee exempt.

  • Commercial ships operating in Queensland
    All boats used in connection with any commercial, government or research activity require certification under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 (the national law) to operate in Queensland.

Related information

Australian Builders Plate

The Australian Builders Plate (ABP) is a national initiative to make boating safer by providing vital information about the capacity, capability and limitations of ships. The ABP requires ship builders, importers or competent persons to clearly display information about a ship's operational capabilities in a standard format.

Penalties apply for selling a vessel without an Australian Builders Plate that is required to have one fitted.

Choosing a Safe Boat has more information about Australia Builders Plate or contact Australia, New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group. For more information about getting an Australian Builders Plate contact Boating Industry Association or your local Maritime Safety Queensland regional office.

Hull Identification Numbers

Hull Identification Numbers (HINs) are a great tool in theft deterrent and recovery of stolen vessels. HINs are a unique series of characters and numbers assigned to a ship. They are permanent and usually issued by the manufacturer. They are fitted in two places on the hull, in a conspicuous place and an inconspicuous place. One of these places is likely to be on the Australian Builders Plate.

Theft prevention

With over 250,000 registered recreational boats in Queensland, they can be extremely tempting to thieves. Make sure you take steps to reduce your chance of boat theft. The Queensland Water Police recommend you take the following steps:

  • Store your vessel out of sight, preferably off the street
  • Ensure the boat you own and any you purchase, have a HIN attached
  • Use trailer wheel clamps and tow hitch locks

To assist with recovery of the boat in the event it is stolen:

  • Ensure the HIN is fitted to the vessel in both a conspicuous place and an inconspicuous place
  • Fit the vessel with Microdots to allow for easy tracking
  • Ensure your registration details are correct. Any vessel changes including engine replacements or modification need to be updated.
  • Register the boat on the National Marine Register 

Safety management system

A safety management system (SMS) is how ship owners and operators identify and manage risks, outline emergency and maintenance procedures and establish a culture of safety on board. Most commercial ships are required under either Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 (TOMSA) or the national law to have an SMS in accordance with National Standard for Commercial Vessels (NSCV) Part E.

Existing commercial ships from Queensland that are now regulated under the national system have been required to keep an SMS compliant with NSCV Part E since 2010—this was a condition of their registration under TOMSA. Owners of these ships must review their SMS annually and keep it up to date to ensure their ship continues to be operated safely.

Owners and masters of new domestic commercial vessels, which started operations after the beginning of the national law on 1 July 2013, are required to establish and implement an SMS for vessel operations.

To assist commercial vessel owners and operators to comply with NSCV Part E, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has developed Guidelines on the Implementation of the National Standard for Commercial Vessels Part E.

Owners and masters must make sure the safety management system is:

  • developed, maintained and kept up to date to reflect operational risks
  • on board the ship (or on shore if it is impractical to carry all documents on board)
  • accessible to the ship's crew and the ship's crew is trained and familiar with the SMS, in particular the operational and emergency procedures.

NSCV Part E requires that every commercial vessel keep a log book as a complementary record of the daily operations of the ship to demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements.

Ship insurance

All ships over 15m, including those visiting Queensland waters, must have insurance to cover potential pollution clean up, salvage and wreck removal. Find more information about ship insurance requirements in Queensland.

Last updated
18 May 2018