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Quick Guide to New Legislation

  • For the general recreational paddler, for sit on tops or kayaks, for off-the- beach or river (smooth water) paddling there is very little change.
  • Life jackets are still required.

The new Legislation will commence on 1 January 2014, affecting:

Lightweight Craft users (Kayaks, Canoes, Stand-up Paddle Boards)

(Marine and Safety (General) Regulations 2013)

MAST is aware more people are paddling further offshore in canoes and kayaks and, whilst many carry safety equipment voluntarily, it is essential all paddlers carry equipment that would enhance their chance of survival in an emergency.

The new legislation will require the carriage of specific safety equipment on these craft. When there is a group of paddlers, these requirements are reduced to one in every three paddlers carrying required safety equipment. Refer to Table 1.

PWC (Jet Ski) Owners / Users

(Marine and Safety (General) Regulations 2013)

For PWCs the new legislation prohibits the use of an inflatable PFD to be worn by the operator or passengers. PWC operators and passengers frequently enter the water and it is important positive buoyancy is immediate.

An operator of a PWC is currently required to carry an EPIRB in open waters. The new legislation provides PWC operators the opportunity of using a PLB as a substitute for an EPIRB.

Inflatable Life Jacket Owners

(Marine and Safety (Motor Boats and Licences) By-Laws 2013)

Under current legislation it is the responsibility of the owner of the boat to ensure that inflatable PFDs are serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. With so many people owning their own inflatable PFD, the new legislation now makes this the responsibility of the owner.

Copies of the relevant legislation will be on the MAST website late December.

Table 1 : Carriage of Safety Gear on Light Weight Craft

PFDAlready in LegislationAlready in LegislationAlready in Legislation
White Strobe Light or all round light with 360o visibilityMandatory

(at night)


(at night)


(at night)

Tethering Device when more than 200m offshoreMandatoryMandatoryMandatory
EPIRB or PLB Mandatory
VHF – handheldMandatory
Bailer or Bilge in craft unless hull permanently enclosedMandatoryMandatoryMandatory
FlaresRecommended if undertaking a passage paddleMandatory

If a lightweight craft is travelling with a powered support vessel or three lightweight craft are travelling together in waters other than sheltered waters, the carriage of flares, EPIRB/PLB and VHF radio (the equipment) may be reduced to carriage of the equipment by one of every three lightweight crafts if the lightweight crafts remain within 50 metres of the craft or vessel carrying the equipment.

A person on a lightweight craft is exempt from wearing a PFD (Life Jacket) when the sole purpose of operating the lightweight craft is to ride the crest of a wave in a *surf zone towards the shoreline.

*surf zone means the area between the outermost breakers and the shore.

For further information, contact: Peter Hopkins – peter.hopkins@mast.tas.gov.au

Leg Changes for Dealers and Website.pdf - 140kb