What safety equipment do I need?

What you need to know about safety equipment before hitting the water, including what you must have on board, how to use it, how to stow it and how to keep it maintained. Print out the safety equipment checklist to display on your vessel.

Safety equipment changes

WA skippers are being urged to prepare for upcoming changes to safety equipment requirements for recreational vessels. Visit the Safety equipment changes page to find out more.

  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 Bunbury to Albany in October 2020 and give Skippers as well as all crew the opportunity to take the 30 second challenge.


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.

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  Required safety equipment

Small cabin cruiser at sea
Small cabin cruiser at sea

Wherever you operate your boat you will be required to carry certain items of safety equipment. These include:

The exact quantity and type of equipment required will depend on how far offshore you travel, and what kind of vessel you are operating.

For more information, please refer to the 'Required safety equipment (matrix)' below. We also recommend that you use the BEST boat check to ensure you don't leave home without essential equipment.

You can further increase your safety on the water by having the recommended additional safety equipment in the checklist below.

Please download, print, laminate and display the checklists on your vessel.

  How and when to use it

As skipper, you should make sure that:

  • Everyone knows how to use the safety equipment. Have everybody practice putting on lifejackets in good conditions so they are familiar with how to put them on and how they feel.
  • You are familiar with the instructions for use of distress beacons, inflatable lifejackets, distress flares and the fire fighting equipment. You may not have time for a crash course in an emergency.

Lifejackets take time to put on, so do not hesitate to wear them in deteriorating weather.

Your radio lets you pass on varying degrees of urgency to a sea rescue group, so do not wait for full-blooded distress before calling for help.

  Maintenance and storage

All safety equipment must be maintained in very good condition and be accessible at all times.

As skipper, you must brief everyone on the vessel about where the equipment is kept. It should be stowed where it is easily reached and preferably visible.

Keep the following points in mind every time you load and stow your equipment aboard:

  • Lifejackets need to be accessible and ready for use, not locked away in a cupboard or under bunks.
  • Distress flares need to be kept dry and accessible (use a waterproof container that will float).
  • Distress beacons should be positioned in the cockpit or near the helm where it can be reached quickly in an emergency.

Page last updated: Fri Mar 3 2023 11:34:02 AM