Boat Safety

Plan a safe boating trip, including boat​ing safety tips, information about lifejacket requirements and types, licenses, and more. ​

​Top tip​​s

If you're going boating:

  • Always wear a lifejacket. Don't risk your life.
  • Check the weather and plan ahead. Weather can change very easily so always check the most up-to-date weather before you head out.
  • Check all your safety gear. Make sure all lifejackets are in good condition and there are enough on board for everyone. 
  • Make sure you check your vessel and it is appropriate for the conditions and you have the necessary experience to handle the forecast conditions.
  • Stay under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit.
  • Always keep to a safe speed for the prevailing conditions.
  • Always keep a proper lookout at all times, especially for people in the water, other vessels, structures and the shoreline.
  • Tell someone when and where you are heading. Log on with your local Marine Rescue NSW unit on marine radio VHF CH16 or via the free MarineRescue App.


0.05 is the blood alcohol limit, just like on the roads, and if you are under 18, it's zero. If you are a commercial vessel operator your blood alcohol limit is 0.02.

Alcohol affects your coordination, vision, balance and reaction time, and is involved in over 20 per cent of boating incidents. 

So go easy on the drink, as Police conduct random breath testing and heavy penalties apply.​


If you drive a recreational boat at 10 knots or more in NSW waters, you need a boat driving licence.

If you ride a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a jet ski, sea-doo or waverunner, at any speed, you must have a PWC driving licence.​


The NSW Roads and Maritime Services provides free email alerts for weather and to remind you when your safety equipment expires. 


Roads and Maritime publish handbooks to help you understand the rules and how to plan and prepare for your boating or personal watercraft outing.​

Above: two men prepare to go boating by checking their lifejackets.​