Vessels exempted from ABPs

Find out what vessels do not need an Australian Builders Plate.

  Which vessels do not need an ABP?

Generally, only new recreational powerboats being offered for sale to the public or being registered for the first time must have an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

Thus, the following are exempted:

  • Boats constructed before 2 September 2006.
  • Vessels intended for sale outside Australia.
  • Boats imported from New Zealand (most will already have an ABP fitted).
  • Commercial vessels.
  • Boats that are not fitted with engines.
  • Second hand vessels.
  • Special categories of powered vessels.

  Commercial vessels

The Australian Builder's Plate (ABP) is intended for recreational vessels. Therefore commercial vessels will not require an ABP. This includes:

  • Vessels with a current and valid certificate of survey.
  • Survey exempt commercial vessels.
  • Vessels issued with a permit to operate as a commercial vessel.

For advice on whether a commercial vessel with an expired certificate, exemption or permit will require an ABP, please contact Commercial Vessels Safety.

  Unpowered boats

The Australian Builder's Plate (ABP) is only required for powered vessels. Therefore vessel that are not intended to be fitted with engines will not require an ABP. This includes:

  • Paddleboats-canoes, kayaks, surf skis etc.
  • Foot-pedal boats.
  • Rowing shells used for racing or training.
  • Sailboard or sail kite.
  • Surf row boat.
  • Sailboats and yachts.
  • Aquatic toys.
  • Inflatable boats.

Sailboats and yachts

Any vessel that uses a sail as the primary means of propulsion, whether or not it has an auxiliary motor, will not require an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

There is no conclusive test to determine if sail is the 'primary' means of propulsion for a particular vessel. However the following checklist can be used as a guide:

  • Sail rig (mast, stays, shrouds, halyards, sheets, cleats and/or winches) extends from stem to stern.
  • Sail area exceeds the profile area of the hull and deck-mounted structures.
  • Hull is fitted with a keel that extends below the motor.
  • Design and construction standard used defines the vessel as a sailing vessel (e.g. ISO 12217).

A vessel that meets the above criteria would probably be considered an exempted sail vessel.

The owners intention for using the craft also helps determine if sail is intended to be the primary means of propulsion.

If an owner intended to use a vessel primarily as a sailing vessel, this could still be a sailing vessel, but this would not be.

Aquatic toys

Toys designed primarily for play in or on water, rather than for transportation, would not require an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

This includes any object designed solely to be towed behind a recreational vessel, such as:

  • Inflatable tubes.
  • Ski-biscuits.
  • Hot dogs.
  • Wakeboards.

Inflatable boats

Inflatable boats that comply with the ISO 6185 standards would not require an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

Such a boat must have a recognised plate attached that certifies that it meets either of these standards:

  • European Directive 94/25/EC-Recreational Craft.
  • US National Marine Manufacturers Association Certification Handbook.

  Second hand vessels

The Australian Builder's Plate (ABP) is intended for vessels that are being sold to the public for the first time. Therefore second hand, used or pre-owned vessels do not require an ABP.

However, the following uses of a new vessel does not make it 'second hand':

  • Testing during construction.
  • Sales-related activities, such as demonstrating it or transportation.
  • Sale by the builder to a marine dealer or agent for subsequent sale.
  • Any use by the builder (including owner-builder) or marine dealer.

  Special categories of powered vessels

Racing vessels

Any vessel that was built exclusively for racing in organised events does not require an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

These events must be organised by a racing club or association, scheduled in advance and advertised to the public.

Vessels participating in such events will not need an ABP if they only participate in the following activities:

  • Trials.
  • Practice and training.
  • Transport.
  • Racing.

Personal watercraft

Personal watercraft (PWC) that are designed to carry up to 2 persons do not require an Australian Builder's Plate (ABP).

PWCs designed to carry 3 or more persons must have an ABP unless the maximum weight (in kg) and maximum number of persons the vessel may carry is clearly displayed.

Unconventional powered vessels

This category includes:

  • Amphibious vehicles (e.g. Army DUKW 'duck' or LARC-Lighter, Amphibious Resupply, Cargo).
  • Hydrofoils and hovercrafts.
  • Submersibles.
Page last updated: Thu Jun 22 2017 8:11:24 AM