COVID-19: Updates on Department of Transport services

Boating behaviours and initiatives

Find out about important safe recreational boating behaviours ensuring a safe day on the water.

  30 Second Challenge - test your readiness for an emergency

The Department of Transport (DoT) wants those heading out on the water to be prepared and is advocating skippers and passengers take the 30 Second Challenge which tests readiness for an emergency response on board a vessel.

This initiative, which tests if people can gather flares, EPIRB, make a radio call and put on a lifejacket in 30 seconds, responds to boating incidents data which showed that better maintenance of safety gear and improved accessibility could have limited the number of boating tragedies.

The 30 Second Challenge occurs at boat ramps State wide and is delivered by Marine Safety Education Officers. There is an incentive for boaters to take part. The boater who can successfully complete the challenge the fastest will be given a marine safety pack. The pack will include:

  • Marine Safety bailer.
  • Offshore flare kit.
  • Inflatable Level 150 automatic lifejacket.

The 30 Second Challenge is not limited to the boat ramp events, take the opportunity next time you plan on going boating. How quickly can you get to your safety gear? Remember nothing is faster than disaster!

Education Officers will be conducting safety equipment checks from Two Rocks to Mandurah from February to April 2020 and give Skippers as well as all crew the opportunity to take the 30 second challenge.


Note: Please view the page in landscape mode

Keep up to date

If you would like to receive information about when and where future 30 Second Challenge opportunities will be held please complete the online form and sign up to our Boating Communities Newsletter.

Marine Safety Facebook

Join us on Facebook to be part of WA's boating community. The Marine Safety WA Facebook page provides information on safe navigation and safe use of State waters, marine environment protection and marine emergencies.

Facebook logo Join the Marine Safety WA Facebook page

  Routine maintenance 'BEST' boat check

To assist skippers and reduce the number of boating breakdowns DoT has developed the BEST boat check. The BEST check should be completed prior to every trip to ensure your Boat, Equipment, Safety equipment and Trailer are all in good order for a day on the water.

  • Boat.
  • Equipment.
  • Safety.
  • Trailer.

The BEST check ensures your day is not ruined by an oversight, it's a quick activity to give peace of mind.

A well serviced boat should not let you down. The annual 45 point check will help skippers identify issues before they become a problem, but it all starts with having a regular service. Take the time to have your boat serviced at least once a year.

The BEST and 45 point annual checks lists will not cover all types of boats and voyages but there's no doubt they can help make your next voyage less stressful and possibly much more enjoyable.

MAC_P_45PointBoatCheckMarineSafety.pdf icon Annual 45 point boat check Kb
MAC_P_BoatMaintenanceMarineSafety.pdf icon Safety guidelines: BEST check Kb
MAC_P_BoatMaintenanceMarineSafety.pdf icon Boat maintenance (Guide) Kb
MAC_P_MaintainBoatPoster1.pdf icon Maintain your boat: A2 (poster 1) Kb
MAC_P_MaintainBoatPoster2.pdf icon Maintain your boat: A2 (poster 2) Kb
MAC_P_MaintainBoatPoster3.pdf icon Maintain your boat: A2 (poster 3) Kb

  Don't go overboard on alcohol

Don't go overboard on alcohol
Don't go overboard on alcohol

Understand the risks and your responsibility

Whether you are going fishing, skiing, diving or just cruising, when you mix alcohol with your boating activity the consequences can be fatal.

In a boat, the combination of wind, waves and the sun can all magnify the effects of alcohol and really affect your judgement and skills. This goes for everyone; the skipper, the passengers and the crew.

Remember to drink responsibly when boating

It is an offence to operate a vessel while affected by alcohol or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vessel, Section 59(2) of the Western Australian Marine Act 1982.

Drivers of vehicles leaving boat ramps, yacht clubs and marinas can be prosecuted under the Road Traffic Act 1974.

The general guidelines for standard alcohol consumption are:

  • Men: No more than two standard drinks in the first hour and one standard drink every following hour.
  • Women: No more than one standard drink every hour.
Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Road Traffic Act 1974
Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)

  Don't let safety expire

Don't expire sticker
Don't expire sticker

Overview and disposal advice

Find out about not letting safety equipment expiry dates lapse, including tips and how to obtain your reminder sticker.

Skippers are encouraged to check the expiry date on flares and other safety equipment before heading out on the water.

As every responsible skipper knows, there are certain items in the safety equipment list that have an expiry date.

Such dates are applied in a bid to ensure this equipment will work when needed, which can include life-threatening circumstances.

Safety gear that carry expiry dates include flares, EPIRBs and inflatable lifejackets.

  • For unserviceable EPIRB disposal advice, go to EPIRBs.
  • For unserviceable flare disposal advice, go to Flares.

Tips to remember expiry dates

Don't let safety equipment expire. Set a reminder alarm by:

  • Putting the dates in your calendar.
  • Putting the dates in your mobile phone.
  • Writing it on the DoT Don't Expire sticker (see below) and place it on your boat.
  • Writing it on the DoT bailer and keeping it on your boat.

Responsible skippers should ensure the safety equipment is well maintained and accessible, that passengers know where it is stored, how to use it and when to use it. In an emergency on the water, properly functioning safety equipment can be the key to survival and there can be tragic consequences if it isn't in good working order.

Take the opportunity next time you plan on going boating to complete a 30 second challenge. How quickly can you get to your safety gear? Remember nothing is faster than disaster!

To obtain a sticker, visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

  What is the Junior Crew Program?

The Junior Crew Pack is a marine safety educational resource for primary school students in Years 3, 4 and 5. It focuses on 3 key marine safety topics:

  • Safe use of boats.
  • Personal boating safety.
  • Safety of others when boating.

The program was introduced to present important marine safety knowledge and skills from the Recreational Skipper's Ticket (RST) in a way that primary aged students can appreciate.

It was developed by the DoT's Marine Education Boatshed in partnership with:

  • Department of Education.
  • School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Students are awarded a Junior Crew Certificate upon completion of a number of worksheets, activities and tasks.

This resource is available FREE to teachers in Western Australian primary schools.

Opens in a new window Department of Education
Opens in a new window School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA)

  Lookout when on the water

Fast facts - marine safety
Fast facts - marine safety
Lookout message images
Lookout message images

There is nothing more important to boating safety than keeping a lookout. When boating, danger can come from different directions, so maintaining a proper lookout is crucial to boating safely. In fact, maintaining a proper lookout is one of the navigation rules.

WA Marine Act

In the WA Marine Act 1982 Prevention of Collisions at Sea Regulations 1983; Rule-5 Lookout 'Every vessel shall at all times maintain a proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by all available means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances and conditions so as to make a full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of collision.' AustLII: Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)

Simply put, look around and listen for danger so you can make good decisions and avoid hitting another boat, something in the water, or even land.

Proper Lookout

The key to maintaining a proper lookout is simply making it a habit and using common sense.

Skippers who fail to keep a proper lookout not only endanger their own lives and those of their passengers, they also jeopardise the safety of other water users.

View the YouTube video below to find out more on keeping a Proper Lookout.

How do you maintain a proper lookout?

Just looking about occasionally will not do. If you are the skipper of the boat, take the following action:

  1. Tell someone to be the lookout. Assign one of your passengers with the task of lookout and position them so that they can easily see in all directions.
  2. Both the skipper and the lookout watch carefully while the boat is moving. If something is spotted, share the information clearly.
  3. Be prepared to take action if you see danger. You may need to turn, slow down or take other action.
  4. Avoid complacency, as the skipper of a boat, it is your responsibility to maintain a proper lookout at all times.


  • Lookout for anything that could present a danger such as other boats, land, sand bars, rocks, reefs, buoys or lights, crab/cray pots, debris in the water, marine mammals, poor light and discoloured water.
  • Tell passengers to report anything they see along with the direction and distance from the vessel.
  • Remain alert and give your full attention to the task.


The image files below are provided for promotion of the Lookout safety campaign. By downloading and using these images you agree to use the whole image and not alter the artwork in any way.

MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Portrait1.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 portrait (Poster 1) Kb
MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Portrait2.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 portrait (Poster 2) Kb
MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Portrait3.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 portrait (Poster 3) Kb
MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Landscape1.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 landscape (Poster 1) Kb
MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Landscape2.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 landscape (Poster 2) Kb
MAC_I_LookoutCampaign_A3Landscape3.pdf icon Lookout campaign: A3 landscape (Poster 3) Kb
Opens in a new window Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Western Australian Marine Act 1982 (WA)
Opens in a new window Keep a Proper Lookout: YouTube video by NSW Maritime

  Old4New lifejacket program

About the Old4New lifejacket exchange program

DoT, in partnership with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia (RLSSWA), deliver the Old4New lifejacket upgrade and awareness campaign.

The campaign aims to promote the wearing of lifejackets at all times while boating and provides an incentive for people to act and upgrade their old, obsolete, damaged and uncomfortable lifejackets to new, easy to wear slim style inflatable lifejackets.

The program operates as follows:

  • The Old4New lifejacket upgrade program visits metropolitan and regional boat ramps during the year. RLSSWA will enable members of the public to upgrade any old, damaged or obsolete lifejacket for a new automatic, inflatable lifejacket at a reduced price of $65.
  • The purchase of a new lifejacket from the RLSSWA at the Old4New campaign tent is only available at the metropolitan locations and limited to two per person.
  • There is a limited number of lifejackets available as part of the upgrade at each metropolitan location. Once the RLSSWA lifejacket allocation is exhausted, or if a member of the public wishes to upgrade more than two lifejackets, an opportunity exists to exchange their old lifejacket(s) for a voucher that is provided by DoT.
  • The voucher entitles the person to purchase a new automatic or manual inflatable jacket from a participating retail store and get a $15 discount off the retail price.
  • There is a limit of two vouchers per boat in the metropolitan area and three in regional areas, with a limited number of vouchers available at each upgrade location.

A list of participating retailers, guidelines and frequently asked questions can be seen below.

Opens in a new window Royal Life Saving Society (WA)

  Take care - be prop aware

The most dangerous thing in the water is not what you think.

Boat propellers pose a risk that can be easily ignored or forgotten because they are under the water, 'out of sight and out of mind'. But a strike from a spinning propeller can cause serious injury or even death.

A typical three bladed propeller:

  • Spins at around 3200 rpm.
  • Can make more than 100 impacts per second.
  • Can travel from head to toe of an average person in less than one tenth of a second, causing multiple deep wounds.

Boat propeller injuries, if not fatal, are usually severe and disfiguring, resulting in prolonged disability and permanent impairment.

Prop aware sticker
Prop aware sticker

Propeller safety tips

Here are some tips that skipper's should do to avoid injuring a person in the water:

  • Inspect the area near the back of the boat to ensure the area is clear before starting the engine.
  • Turn the engine off near people in the water even when retrieving a skier as some propellers may continue to spin even in neutral.
  • Make sure your passengers are aware of the dangers.
  • Keep a proper lookout at all times, especially when near swimmers, snorkelers, divers or any other activity.
  • Stay out of designated swimming areas.
  • Look out for dive flags and keep 50 metres clear.
  • Attach a propeller guard.
  • Keep all arms and legs inside the boat and not over the bow, sides or stern at all times. This is not only dangerous but also illegal.

The skipper of every boat is responsible for the safety of their passengers, so every skipper should be vigilant and consider the area around the prop as a hazard zone.

Skippers are encouraged to put a Take Care, Be Prop Aware sticker on the transom of their boat, as a reminder to everyone onboard of the hidden dangers of spinning propellers.

To obtain a sticker, visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

  You're the skipper

You're the skipper sticker
You're the skipper sticker

The Department of Transport is challenging skippers throughout Western Australia (WA) to take responsibility for their actions on the water. This campaign aims to reduce the number of boating incidents in WA.

Skippers are responsible for:

  • The safety of their vessel.
  • Those on board.
  • Other water users operating nearby.

Skippers have direct control over the major factors which contribute to incidents on the water, and must do their part to reduce incidents and deaths by:

  • Taking control.
  • Always observing the regulations.
  • Meeting the safety requirements for their vessel.

Skipper responsibilities checklist

  1. Check the weather and tides. If in doubt about any of the conditions, don't go.
  2. Tell someone where you plan to go and when you intend to return. If your plans change, let them know.
  3. Make sure your boat is suitable and capable of making the trip.
  4. Carry all necessary supplies such as fuel, food and water in case of an emergency.
  5. Study a chart or local boating guide of the waters you intend cruising.
    1. Are you familiar with the many dangers on the water?
    2. Check for rocks or submerged obstructions and various speed limits and local laws.
  6. Ensure that all safety equipment is operational and in easy reach.
  7. Let everyone know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works.
  8. Check, and double check, that your craft is not overloaded.
  9. Check that your marine radio works.
  10. Maintain boat stability by centrally loading your boat.
  11. Make sure you and your crew can handle the boat properly.
  12. Be sure lifejackets fit all passengers properly and are in easy reach, in bad weather, when boating alone, if you are a weak swimmer or when you are not comfortable they should be worn at all times.
  13. Consider the needs of all of your passengers. Do they have any special medical problems? Are they prone to sea sickness?
  14. You can delegate various jobs to people on board, this adds to the fun of a voyage as well as giving every person a sense of responsibility.
  15. A final check of basic mechanics. Has there been regular maintenance, particularly on the steering gear?

Download, print, laminate and display this checklist on your vessel.

A sticker is available providing information about the new safety equipment requirements.

For a copy of the You're the skipper quick reference sticker visit your nearest Department of Transport office or call 13 11 56 and one will be sent to you.

MAC_P_SafeBoatingMarineSafety.pdf icon Safe Boating: Marine Safety booklet Kb
MAC_B_YoureResponsibleSticker.pdf icon You're the skipper safety reference (Printable) Kb

Image of boats heading out to sea


Page last updated: Wed Feb 5 2020 12:48:10 PM