Boat Safety Rules and Regulations in Queensland

There’s nothing like escaping the hustle and bustle of your daily life and taking in the serenity of the open water. Boating is an enjoyable way to pass a beautiful day but all that isolation can take on a sinister turn if you get into trouble. By following a few simple safety rules and regulations, you can ensure your safety while out on the water here in the Brisbane bay side and around Queensland.

The following guidelines and advice comes courtesy of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).


You boat safety routine should begin before you even enter the water. Always check the weather forecast before you embark on any trip. The AMSA provides a phone in weather service using information from the Bureau of Meterology.


All boats must be registered before entering the water. Registration should be marked visibly. Emergency devices such as life jackets and rafts should also be clearly labelled.

All RideSmart stickers and capacity labels (except for sailing ships) must be visible from steering position.

Safety equipment

Safety equipment must be kept in working condition. The average boat owner won’t use all of their equipment all the time, so it can be easy to forget about some of it. Make a servicing schedule for the following equipment and keep it somewhere so that you will remember:

– fire extinguishers


– flares

– inflatable life jackets

Emergency Position Indication Radio Beacon

EPIRBs must be used when travelling more than two nautical miles from land. The device must be registered with the AMSA and renewed every two years.

Life jackets

You must provide enough personal flotation devices for all of your passengers in the event of an emergency. Life jackets must be worn at all times by passengers under the age of 12, by all passengers when crossing a coastal bar in a boat that is 4.8 metres or longer, and by water skiers or anyone being towed.

Fire extinguishers

Fire fighting equipment must be kept on boats more than 5 metres in length or in boats with gas appliances. Keep fire extinguishers in a visible, easy to reach place.


Boat owners are obligated to maintain and repair their gas appliances when necessary. Never use your appliances in an unventilated space.


Boats that are less than 5 metres can use a chain or rope cable, while boats more than 5 metres in length must have a chain of at least 2 metres attached to anchor and rope. Consider the depth of the water when choosing a chain length.

Drink driving

Drink driving laws apply to the water as well and are equally important, especially if you have passengers. For recreational ships, the driver must maintain a blood alcohol limit of 0.05, unless the vessel is securely moored in a marina or to a jetty, wharf or swing mooring.

Marine drink driving convictions can be applied to your road licence, and losing your road license for drink driving can result in your marine license being suspended as well.

Holt Marine can help keep your marine vessel in premium condition with servicing and boat maintenance. Call us today on 07 3353 1928.


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