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Safety Equipment Changes - 1 September 2023




Safety equipment changes now apply!!   New safety equipment requirements are now in place from 1st September 2023 for recreational vessels in Western Australia. “It’s time to get on board”!!

 

The new requirements apply to registered recreational vessels, personal water craft (PWC), non-registrable yachts/sailing vessels and tenders.  The Department of Transport advises the following:

 

Vessel length and distance from shore:

The length of a vessel will no longer determine how far it can travel from the shore.

 

Even when carrying the required safety equipment, the skipper is responsible for determining how far from the shore they can operate safely.

 

Weather conditions, vessel capability and ability of the skipper should be the key considerations, not the length of the vessel.

 

Fire extinguisher, anchor/line, bilge pump/bailer:

Skippers are no longer required to carry a fire extinguisher, anchor, bilge pump or bailer. However, it is recommended that you continue to carry this equipment and assess your individual circumstances in determining which anchor, fire extinguisher or bilge pump/bailer is appropriate for your vessel and operating circumstances.

 

Marine radio and distress beacon standards:

All Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) must be GPS enabled. You will have until 1 September 2028 of the new laws to upgrade to a GPS enabled EPIRB.

  • You must carry a VHF or HF marine radio when travelling more than 4 nautical miles from shore. 27-MHz radios are being phased out by 1 September 2028 and will no longer be compliant.

  • Electronic Visual Distress Signal (EVDS) - The following EVDS may be carried:

    • 547 Orion Electronic SOS Beacon Locator.

    • ACR ResQFlare LED Electronic Distress Flare.

The Department of Transport strongly encourages you to update your distress beacons and marine radio units as soon as possible, to improve your safety on the water.

 

Vessels smaller than 4.8 metres:

The following safety equipment requirements will apply to all vessels smaller than 4.8 metres. 

  • In protected waters:

When operating in rivers, lakes, estuaries, harbours and waters within 400 metres from the shore you must carry a lifejacket (Level 100 or higher) for each person on board.

  •  In unprotected waters:

When operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters:

  • A lifejacket (Level 100 or higher) must be worn by everyone on board vessels less than 4.8 metres.

 

You must carry a GPS enabled EPIRB or wear a GPS enabled PLB. You will have until 1 September 2028 to upgrade to a GPS enabled EPIRB.

  • You must carry at least 2 handheld red flares and 2 handheld orange flares. Parachute flares may be used in lieu of the red hand held but only until 1 September 2026.

  • Electronic Visual Distress Signals (EVDS) may be carried instead of flares only if a GPS enabled EPIRB is carried or GPS enabled PLB is worn.

  • You must carry a marine radio, when operating beyond 4 nautical miles from shore. 27-MHz radios are being phased out by 1 September 2028 and will no longer be compliant.

 

Vessels larger than 4.8 metres:

  • In protected waters:

When operating in rivers, lakes, estuaries, harbours and waters within 400 metres from the shore you must carry a lifejacket (Level 100 or higher) for each person on board.

 

  •  In unprotected waters:

When operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters:

  • A lifejacket (Level 100 or higher) must be carried for everyone on board.

  • Children aged one to 12 years on board must wear a lifejacket (Level 100 or higher).


You must carry a GPS enabled EPIRB or wear a GPS enabled PLB. You will have until 1 September 2028 to upgrade to a GPS enabled EPIRB.

  • You must carry at least 2 handheld red flares and 2 handheld orange flares. Parachute flares may be used in lieu of the red hand held but only until 1 September 2026.

  • EVDS may be carried instead of flares only if a GPS enabled EPIRB is carried or GPS enabled PLB is worn.

  • You must carry a marine radio, when operating beyond 4 nautical miles from shore. 27-MHz radios are being phased out by 1 September 2028 and will no longer be compliant.

 

Personal water craft (PWC):

The following safety equipment requirements apply for PWC.

Everyone on board a PWC must wear a lifejacket (minimum level 50S) at all times and in all waters. 

  • In unprotected waters:

When operating more than 400 metres from shore in unprotected waters you must also:

  • Carry a GPS enabled EPIRB or wear a GPS enabled PLB. You will have until 1 September 2028 to upgrade to a GPS enabled EPIRB.

  • Carry at least 2 handheld red flares and 2 handheld orange flares. Parachute flares may be used in lieu of the red handheld but only until 1 September 2026.

  • EVDS may be carried instead of flares if a GPS enabled EPIRB is carried or GPS enabled PLB is worn.

  • Carry a marine radio when travelling beyond 4 nautical miles from shore. 27-MHz radios are being phased out by 1 September 2028 and will no longer be compliant.

 

Non-registrable vessels:

Existing equipment requirements for paddle craft, kiteboards and sailboards will continue to apply. New requirements for these craft will be drafted in Stage Two.

 

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