About the Australian Builders Plate

Find out about the Australian Builders Plate, including information on what vessels need it and how it will be enforced.

  What is an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP)?

An Australian Builders Plate (ABP) is a plaque that provides information on a boat's capability and capacity, providing details on:

  • Boating operations.
  • Maximum number of people and load allowed.
  • Engine rating.
  • Weight.

The ABP was introduced in 2 September 2006 by the National Marine Safety Committee (NMSC) to improve recreational boating safety across Australia.

Public consultation is currently open to comment on the proposed changes to the ABP Standard. The consultation process is being facilitated by Maritime Safety Queensland. Read more about the process and how to contribute at the link below.

External Link ABP Standard Consultation - Maritime Safety Queensland

  Which vessels require ABPs?

Australian Builders Plates (ABP) are required for new recreational powered vessels that are either:

  • Offered for sale to the public for the first time.
  • Being registered in WA for the first time.

Vessels built before 2 September 2006, when the law was introduced, do not need an ABP. There are some other exceptions for special categories of boats. For more information, please go to Vessels exempted from ABPs.

  What information does an ABP contain?

Australian Builders Plate
Australian Builders Plate

The Australian Builders Plate (ABP) contains the following information:

  1. Boat builder and build year (or hull identification number-HIN).
  2. Maximum outboard engine power.
  3. Maximum outboard engine weight.
  4. Maximum number and weight of persons.
  5. Maximum load (includes the weight of the outboard motors, as these can be exchanged for heavier or lighter ones).
  6. Buoyancy performance (required only on vessels less than 6 metres in length).
  7. Compulsory warning statement.
  8. Optional warning statements.
  9. Name of the standard used in determining the above information.

  How will the ABP be enforced?

Department of Transport

The Department of Transport will only check a vessel for an Australian Builders Plates (ABP) if it is being registered for the first time.

If a builder or dealer attempts to register a new vessel that does not comply with the ABP guidelines, the registration will be refused.

If a buyer registers a vessel that has been purchased in good faith, but is found not to comply, registration may be allowed as long as:

  • There is no reason to suspect that the vessel is unsafe.
  • There is no specific campaign to achieve compliance with the ABP.


The seller's information will be sent to the Department of Commerce for action.

Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection

Consumer protection officers from the Department of Commerce ensures that goods sold commercially comply with product information standards found in the Fair Trading Acts 1987 and 2000 (WA), and the Fair Trading (Product Information Standard) Regulations 2005 (WA).

This includes enforcing that Australian Builders Plates (ABP) are installed on all required vessels, and that the information contained is accurate.

If you have purchased a new boat that does not have an ABP, please contact the Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection Division.

For more information on these laws, please go to the Parlimentary Counsel's Office website.

Department of Fisheries

Fisheries Enforcement Officers will only check a vessel's Australian Builders Plates (ABP) if the vessel:

  • Is being investigated by the Department of Commerce.
  • Appears to be overloaded.

Using a vessel contrary to the information on the ABP is not an offence. However, if an accident should occur due to overloading or overpowering the vessel, the owner or skipper of the vessel may have to justify why he or she did not comply with the recommendations of the ABP.

Boat builders and retailers are protected from responsibility of such accidents as long as the vessel was built and sold in compliance with a design standard, and have informed the user as to its operational limitations (via the ABP).

For more information, please go to the Department of Fisheries.

Opens in a new window Department of Commerce: Consumer Protection Division
Opens in a new window Department of Fisheries
Opens in a new window Department of Justice: Western Australian Legislation

  ABP Standard consultation

Marine Safety agencies around Australia have reviewed the accuracy and consistency of the ABP Standard as it is applied throughout Australia.

The Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee (ARBSC) formed an ABP Working Group in 2018 and subsequently drafted a proposed update of the ABP Standard. Review of the draft will actively involve industry.

Maritime Safety Queensland is facilitating the consultation process on behalf of Marine Safety agencies around Australia. Public consultation on the proposed changes is now open. You can have your say by visiting the link below.

External Link ABP Standard Consultation - Maritime Safety Queensland


Page last updated: Tue Nov 5 2019 8:21:41 AM