Power board

The power board is not suitable for registration or use in NSW. It is classed as an unsafe vessel.

What is a power board?

This information is current as of March 2012.

A power board is a modified sit-on-top kayak, powered by an outboard engine controlled by a throttle and killswitch, and manoeuvred by weight distribution.

The engine is fitted with a cowling which forms the backrest for the vessel user.

Risks when using a power board

Power boards have been linked to a number of issues on NSW navigable waters:

  • Power boards do not seem to comply with the Australian Builders’ Plate.
  • They lack stability and are prone to freeboard and weight distribution issues.
  • Turning and manoeuvring requires leaning
  • It’s possible to overpower a power board, diminishing the ability to keep a proper lookout
  • Weight distribution issues may lead to nosediving
  • Restricted gear selection capability means there is no ability to engage reverse gear
  • The throttle is similar to that on a lawn mower and therefore does not provide a sufficient level of control, if travelling at speed
  • The killswitch and propeller guard must be fitted and used at all times
  • The skeg could cause injury to the operator, or other persons in the water, in the event of capsize.


The power board is not suitable for registration and/or use in NSW. It is considered to be an unsafe vessel under Sections 44 and 45 of the Marine Safety Act 1998 and Clause 76(2)(b) of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016.

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