Registration number, safety label and builders plate

Registered vessels must display a registration label, numbers, and safety label.

Registration label

From 1 July 2016 registered vessels are not required to display registration labels. See the Maritime Registration Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Registration numbers

Registered vessels are assigned a registration number. This number must be displayed at all times on both sides of the hull, in figures at least 150mm high (100mm for Personal Watercraft (PWC) and sailing vessels). Sailing vessels may display their registration number on the transom.

The registration numbers must be displayed in a contrasting colour to the hull, in solid characters (not outlines), in a clear font or style and in upper case, so that they can be clearly identified.

Safety label

A safety label shows the maximum number of people (capacity) and load you can carry on your boat, as well as other important safety information. Powered vessels (not including sailing boats with engines or PWC) must display a safety label where everyone on board can see it.

The capacity and load are set by the Australian Builders Plate (ABP), the manufacturer, or by the table on the back of the safety label.

You get a safety label when you register your boat or from your nearest service centre.

Example safety label
A safety label shows the maximum number of people you can carry, and other important safety information.

Australian Builders Plate (ABP)

Most power-driven vessels built from 1 July 2006, including imported vessels, must have an ABP affixed before they are registered for the first time. Displaying an ABP does not exempt vessels from the Hull Identification Number (HIN) requirement.

There are two types of ABP, one for vessels under six metres and one for vessels over six metres. 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:

  • Maximum weight and power rating of the engine
  • Maximum number of people capacity
  • Maximum load (weight) that the boat can carry (including people and equipment)
  • Buoyancy statement (for boats up to six metres in length)
  • Warning statements.

A new edition of the National Standard for the Australian Builders Plate for Recreational Boats (the Standard) is now available for viewing and downloading.

The information is currently hosted on the Maritime Safety Victoria website. The standard will be published on a new national website in early 2021. Please note the standard applies to all recreational boats in NSW.

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