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Information for Interstate Visitors

Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) welcomes you to Tasmania. What a great decision you have made!

Tasmania is blessed with fantastic cruising grounds, safe anchorages and excellent fishing both inland and coastal.

To ensure you enjoy your stay in Tasmania with your boat, there are certain issues you should be aware of prior to heading out for a day’s fishing. Tasmanian safety regulations differ to other states with respect to the safety gear needed. The items of equipment required are shown in the table below.

Most importantly, it is mandatory to wear a PFD (Life jacket) at all times when under power on all boats 6 meters or less and, yes, if trolling in the lakes under power you are required to wear the PFD.

MAST has available a number of coastal anchorage guides:-

These are available by ringing 03 6235 8888. Perhaps one of these may be handy to look at prior to arriving. They are $3.30 each.

Other important information is that you are not to exceed 5 knots within 120 metres of a swimmer or someone wading and not to exceed 5 knots within 60 meters of another boat, shoreline or jetty.

Further local information is available on the MAST website.

Remember, when boating in Tasmania you are in 40 degrees of latitude - the weather can be severe and change quickly, especially on the west coast and inland lakes.

Please ensure you get an up to date weather forecast prior to your boating and it is also a very good idea to get, where possible, local knowledge.

Weather information is shown below.

For information on inland fishing you should visit www.ifs.tas.gov.au and for coastal fishing visit www.dpiw.tas.gov.au

Finally, on behalf of all the crew at MAST, enjoy your boating in Tasmania and please contact us if you have any questions.

Safe Boating

Safety Equipment

The following table sets out the minimum requirements for owners and operators of motor-propelled recreational vessels.

All vessels operating at night require navigational lights and torch.

It is recommended that vessels less than 6 metres should not proceed beyond sheltered waters.

Sheltered waters are all waters not exceeding 2 nautical miles to seaward of land on the North and East coasts unless specified in the MAST "Limits of Operational Areas"

All Other Waters are those beyond Sheltered Waters as well as waters on the South and West Coasts between South East Cape and Cape Grim.

1. Personal flotation devices should meet the requirement of AS 4758 which came into effect in July 2010. PFDs made to the old standards, AS 1512, or AS 1499 are still able to be used however it is recommended that these are replaced with the AS 4758 jackets when their condition deteriorates.

2. Fire extinguishers should have a capacity of at least 0.9 kg and meet AS 1841.5 Depending on the size of the vessel more than one extinguisher may be required.

3. Flares should include 2 orange smoke and 2 red handheld distress flares. 2 Parachute rockets are required for vessels operating outside sheltered waters.

4. EPIRB=Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon

5. Flares are not required on vessels in smooth waters. Smooth waters are enclosed and inland waters.

Personal Flotation Devices

An approved personal flotation device (PFD) must be provided for each person on board. It is compulsory to wear a PFD in any recreational motor boat or motor-propelled tender that is under six (6) metres in length and is under power.

It is also compulsory for children under the age of 12 years to wear a PFD in a recreational motor boat or motor-propelled tender of any length while under power.

Boaters are not required to wear a PFD while they are within a deckhouse, cabin or secure enclosed space.

Personal Flotation Device - Level 150 or Level 100

A Level 150 or 100 must comply with the Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old PFD Type1, AS 1512. These jackets offer head support and superior buoyancy over other PFDs. They are also made from highly visible colours. These jackets are required for sheltered and open waters. It is recommended children use this style of jacket in all operational areas.

Personal Flotation Device - Level 50

A Level 50 must comply with Australian Standard AS 4758. This will be clearly marked inside the garment. These jackets replace the old PFD Type 2 AS 1499. They do not offer head support. These jackets are to be used in smooth water only.

Personal Flotation Device - Level 50 Special Purpose

A Level 50 Special Purpose must comply with AS 4758. These jackets do not meet Australian Standards Association colour requirements. They replace the old PFD Type 3 AS 2260. Level 50 Special Purpose jackets can be worn by operators of kayaks, PWCs in sheltered waters and people being towed on skis, wakeboards etc. They are not to be used as the main life jacket in a boat.

Anchor, chain and line

An anchor with a high holding power such as a spade or plough is required to be carried with a specified length of line and before the anchor you must insert a length of chain.

Vessel length
Chain length
Line length
Under 6 metres
2 metres
40 metres
6 metres and over
5 metres
50 metres

Fire Extinguisher

All vessels with an engine carry a fire extinguisher.

Vessel length
Minimum number and capacity
Minimum equivalent rating
      Under 8 metres
One 0.9kg
8-12 metres
Two 0.9kg
Over 12 metres
(a) Three 0.9kg or
(b) One 0.9kg and one 1.5kg

Oars/Auxiliary propulsion

Oars/paddles or an auxiliary motor must be carried on vessels less than 6 metres in length to provide a second means of propulsion. Owners of larger vessels should also consider some means of auxiliary power as an effective safety device.


Depending on the size of the vessel, at least one solidly constructed metal or plastic bucket with 2 metres of rope attached must be carried on any vessel. As a safety item it is useful for both bailing water out and fighting fires. In an emergency the bucket can be used as a sea anchor.


Distress flares are an important item of safety equipment. They are used to raise the alarm and also to act as a pinpoint location to assist search and rescue parties to come to the vessel in distress. They can be very valuable in assisting early rescue, and reducing heavy cost for search and rescue operations.

Within Tasmania, flares are not required for vessels less than 6 metres operating in smooth waters, although MAST recommends that they be carried.

It is important to read the instructions on distress flares carefully at the beginning of every boating season to ensure familiarity with the method of operation since different brands of signals have different methods of ignition. It is also vital that passengers also know how to ignite them.

It is important to check the expiry date and to replace any out-of-date product. Such products can be returned to the manufacturer or to WorkSafe Tasmania offices. Check the White pages for your local office or phone
1300 366 322.

Flares must be approved to Australian Standard AS2092.

Red Handflare
These can be seen from a range of up to 10km at sea level on a clear, dark night and up to 20km from the air. It burns for over 60 seconds with an intense 15,000-candela red light. They can be seen in daylight over a shorter range.

Orange Handsmoke Signal
The smoke flare is for day use only. It provides a vivid and expanding cloud of dense orange smoke visible for more than 60 seconds and can be seen from 4km away at sea level and even further from and aircraft. Always hold the flare to leeward when using it.

Parachute Rocket Flare
This is a handheld, self-contained distress rocket, ejecting a parachute with a suspended red flare at 300 metres altitude. It burns for 40 seconds at a brilliant 30,000 candela. It can be seen for 15km by day and 40km or more by night.

WatersFlare Requirement
Smooth WatersRecommended
Partially Smooth Waters2 x Red Hand Flares
2 x Orange Smoke Flare
Open &
Coastal Waters
2 x Red Hand Flares
2 x Orange Smoke Flare
2 x Red Parachute Rockets


All boats operating beyond sheltered waters are required to carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). An EPRIB is a compact, buoyant, self contained radio beacon which continuously emits a distinctive radio signal to a satellite for at least 48 hours when activated. When the signal is detected the Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra initiates a response using locally based rescue services. EPIRBs should only be used as a last resort when in imminent danger. Other communications such as a radio and flares should be used first.

Some important points about EPIRBs
  • Ensure your EPIRB container is not cracked or showing signs of damage and batteries are within their shelf life.
  • Use the test switch at least once a month to verify power
  • Keep accessible
  • Extend or release the aerial to its full length
  • Allow the beacon to float free to the length of its attached line
  • Once activated, leave the EPIRB on until told to switch it off by a SAR authority.

    Currently, the most popular type of EPIRB is 121.5 MHz beacon. However from 1 Feburary 2009 the global search and rescue satellite system will no longer recognise beacons with this frequency. From that date the distress frequency will be 406 MHz. Plan on replacing your 121.5 MHz beacon before 1 February 2009 with a more modern 406 MHz EPIRB.

    406 MHz beacons are much easier to locate as they are more accurate and also contain particular details about the vessel and its owner. Consequently false alerts can be resolved by a quick radio or telephone call.

    Visit the AMSA website for more information on distress beacons.

    Both 121.5 MHz and 406 MHz EPIRBS are available in compact sizes to enable them to be carried within the wet weather gear of yachtsmen and solo boaters.

    It is important to remember that once activated, the response to your EPIRB signal by a search and rescue authority many be many hours, especially if you are in a remote location.

    Marine Radio

MAST recommends that in areas where a marine radio is required a VHF radio is a better choice than a 27MHz radio. The 27MHz is the cheaper option but it is limited in its use close inshore.

For coastal operations a VHF radio provides much greater coverage and allows communication with shore stations for distress and emergency situations. It also allows boaters to talk with commercial vessels if necessary. The MAST VHF repeater network gives statewide coverage and allows vessels in distress to communicate with each other. Traffic on the repeaters is monitored by volunteer groups as listed below.

Maatsuyker Island Channel 82 Monitored by Tasmar Radio
Cape Sorell Channel 80 Monitored by RVCP Strahan
Bluff Hill Point Channel 81 Monitored by Mersey Radio
Dazzler Range Channel 80 Monitored by Mersey Radio & RVCP Tamar
Mount Horror Channel 82 Monitored by RVCP Tamar, RVCP St Helens and and Mersey Radio
Cape Tourville Channel 80 Not monitored
Mt Raoul Channel 81 Monitored by Coast Radio Hobart

Distress communications with shore stations is on Channel 16. When at sea you must have your radio turned on and tuned to the distress frequency even when it is not otherwise in use.

For vessels venturing far out to sea or interstate, a HF radio provides long distance communication and emergency response.

A minimum of a Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (MROVCP) is required to be undertaken by all users of VHF radios.

Weather Service

Forecasts for various regions have been grouped under a specific phone number for that area and include coastal waters and Central Plateau and South-West lakes forecasts. The service is updated three times daily following the issuing of forecasts by the Bureau of Meteorology at 5.00 am, 11.00 am and 4.00 pm.


Southern Tasmania (03) 6233 9955

Northern Tasmania (03) 6323 2555

Eastern Tasmania (03) 6376 0555

North-West Tasmania (03) 6498 7755

For further information on the availability of boating weather or terminology, contact MAST on 1300 135 513 or the Bureau of Meteorology on (03) 6221 2000, or visit the BOM website.