A person must be at least 16 years of age to register a vessel in NSW. Registrations are granted on an annual basis and the following vessels must be registered with Maritime when occupying NSW navigable waters:
While there is no regulatory requirement for owners of registered vessels to have Compulsory Third Party insurance in NSW, RMS recommends boat owners take out third-party insurance as part of their comprehensive vessel insurance.
An acceptable receipt must include the following details:
Full name and signature of the seller
Full name and address of the buyer
Date of sale and the words ‘received payment in full’ or similar
HIN/Boatcode number (if applicable) and a full description of the vessel
If the receipt/ bill of sale does not include the essential requirements another receipt or Statutory Declaration must be provided detailing the required information.
Transfer of Registration
On sale of a registered vessel, the seller must complete and sign the Registered Owner section on the back of the registration certificate and give to the buyer.
The seller must also complete the Notice of Disposal section and send to Maritime within 21 days of the date of disposal/sale.
To transfer vessel registration the buyer must, within 21 days from the purchase date of the vessel (or a late fee penalty may apply), present in person or by mail to any Maritime operations Centre the following documents:
Completed and signed Transfer of Vessel Registration (located on the back of the registration certificate)
Temporary exemption from the NSW registration requirements is available to visitors from another State, Territory or overseas. NSW registration is not required as long as the vessel:
is not ordinarily used on navigable waters in NSW and
has not been in NSW for more than three months and
is currently registered in another State, Territory or overseas and
is properly numbered and carries an identification plate required by the law of its home State, Territory or country.
If any of these conditions cannot be met and the vessel is registrable under NSW law, it must carry NSW registration when on navigable waters in this State.
If the home State/ Territory or overseas country does not have registration requirement, the vessel must be registered in NSW, or another State.
Note: Vessels in Australian registry are not exempted from NSW registration.
A registration label will be forwarded separately on payment of the annual registration fee. This must be affixed to the exterior of the vessel on the port (left) side of the hull where it is clearly visible. On sailing vessels it must be affixed to the transom or port side.
Registered vessels must display at all times their registration number on both sides of the hull in figures at least 150mm high (100mm for PWC and sailing vessels). Sailing vessels may display the registration numbers on the transom. The registration numbers/letters must be in a contrasting colour to the hull, solid characters (not outlines), in a clear font or style and displayed in upper case so they can be clearly identified
Most vessels built from 1 July 2006, including imported vessels, must have an ABP affixed prior to initial registration. Displaying an ABP does not exempt vessels from the regulatory HIN requirement (see the following section). There are two types of ABP, one for vessels under 6 metres and one for vessels over 6 metres and the plate must be permanently affixed in a position where it is clearly visible.
An ABP enhances the safety of passengers by providing key safety information that includes:
Engine power rating and weight
Maximum person capacity
Maximum load capacity
Buoyancy characteristics (for vessels under 6 metres); and
Hull Identification Number (HIN)
The HIN system (or Boatcode) facilitates the identification of vessels through the affixing of a unique identifying number and provides benefits that include:
The expansion of the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) to include vessels; and
A numbering system that deters vessel theft and assists in the recovery of stolen vessels.
Boatcode is compulsory for:
New vessels prior to initial registration
On transfer of registration where the vessel has not previously been affixed with a HIN
Second-hand vessels being registered for the first time.
Prior to purchasing a second-hand vessel, prospective buyers should contact PPSR at www.ppsr.gov.au or on 1300 007 777 between 7:00 am and 7:00pm weekdays and 9:00am and 4:00pm Saturdays.
A Safety Label, which replaces the previous Capacity Plate, must be displayed clearly on all powered vessels (except PWC) regardless of whether the vessel is fitted with an Australian Builders Plate (ABP). The label must be places where it can be easily seen by the skipper and all persons on board the vessel.
The label indicates the maximum number of people to be carried on a particular vessel, as well as important safety information. The capacity is determined by the ABP, manufacturer or if not specified, by using the table on the reverse of the Safety Label.
The maximum number of persons for good conditions is shown. A reduction in the maximum number must be made in adverse weather conditions or when in open waters. If not, the master maybe guilty of negligent navigation.
In determining whether your vessel complies with the capacity limits, the following applies:
Children up to one year of age are not counted (although you still require safety equipment for them).
Each child between the ages of one and 12 years equals one half of an adult.
Capacity of a person is assessed at 75kg per person with and additional allowance of 15kg per person for personal gear.
* Lifejackets must be suitable for the intended wearer, in good condition, accessible, and inflatable units serviced in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. ** Additional bilge pumps and fire extinguishers may be required for larger vessels.
***NAVIGIATION LIGHTS MUST BE DISPLAYED BETWEEN SUNSET & SUNRISE & DURING TIMES OF RESTRICTED VISIBILITY***
Canoes / Kayaks
Exempt from carrying safety equipment on all waters. Each person on board must wear an appropriate lifejacket when the vessel is being operated unless the vessel:
Is not more than 400 metres from the shore, and
Is propelled by paddle or oars in any enclosed waters between sunrise and sunset, and
Is not a tender, and
Is constructed so as to stay afloat if capsized.
Sailboards / Kiteboards
Exempt from carrying safety equipment but the windsurfer or kitesurfer MUST wear an appropriate lifejacket when operating more than 400 metres from the nearest shore
Racing shells, Surf rescue boats,
Surf boats and Surf skis
Exempt from carrying safety equipment
Rowboats, Dinghies, Inflatable boats
Exempt from carrying safety equipment on enclosed waters if the vessel is
less than 3m in length; and
not a tender; and
not carrying an engine or fuel; and
not more than 200m from nearest shore; and
operating between sunrise and sunset; and
built so as to float if swamped or capsized
Tenders (means a vessel operating on enclosed waters, other than a canoe or kayak, that is: not more than 3m, constructed to stay afloat when swamped or capsized, and being used to transport people or goods for distances not more than 200m between the shore and a vessel, a vessel and the shore, or vessels)
Exempt from carrying other safety equipment if the vessel carries a paddle or oars, a water proof torch if operating between sunset and sunrise, a bucket, bailer or bilge pump
of less than 6m in length and in enclosed waters are not required to carry an anchor
are not required to carry bucket/bailer if it has a permanently enclosed self draining hull
if engaged in organised sail training are not required to carry safety equipment if a power driven vessel capable of use for rescue purposes is in attendance
Off the beach vessels (means an unballasted, sail-only vessel, including centreboard dinghy, windsurfer, skiff or multihull vessel, but not including a vessel with a cabin or a fixed keel)
Not required to carry safety equipment if the vessel does not have sufficient storage room