“Always Buying, Consigning and Selling Queensland’s Best Used Boats Since 1964”

On behalf of John Crawford Marine, I have written this article about several issues that I’m sure many of us have given little or no thought to – paperwork and compliance of government regulations regarding the placement of the hulls registration stickers, placement of the hulls registration label, size of the hulls registration stickers etc.

This topic came to light late last year and I think it is worth discussing to ensure fellow boaters stay informed of current legislation etc. JCM was in the middle of doing an on water demonstration in the Brisbane River, when we were approached by the Brisbane Water Police. The officer on board the police vessel asked the usual questions regarding safety gear. (We are always very careful to ensure adequate gear is on board even though we are in a river!) The next question just stumped us – we were asked if our hull registration stickers were legal, naturally we looked over the side of the boat saw that they were there in full. To our amazement the officer pulled out a tape measure, maneuvered his small police boat next to the rego numbers on our boat and proceeded to measure them.

We were politely informed that the rego numbers on the boat were in fact 50mm short of the Queensland’s Maritime Safety Laws. The boat we were demonstrating was second hand and the registration stickers were put on by the dealer who sold this boat new! The stickers were an elaborate style and cut to suit the style and original graphics on the hull. As illustrated in one of the photos, although these stickers look great they are in fact non – compliant and if caught with them by a Police officer who is checking these to the “letter” pardon the pun, in Qld you will be fined $150.00 on the spot!

Although the boat had legible numbers they did not comply. Due to our circumstances we were told to go back to shore and if the boat is seen again a fine will be issued on the spot. 

Then what do the Guideline’s state in regards to the boat/hull registration stickers? With a bit of research the information is clearly outlined in the http://www.qld.gov.au/transport/boating/registration/recreational/index.html regulations and state that “boats capable of planing must have registration lettering a minimum of 150mm high. The characters must be plain characters in a contrasting colour to the hull of the boat”

In short: 

 Boats capable of planing—at least 150mm high on both sides.

  • Boats not capable of planing—at least 75mm high on both sides or the stern.
  • PWCs— must be at least 100mm high and on both sides.

The registration label must be displayed:

  • on the outside of the boat
  • above the waterline
  • near the registration numbers.

Boats that are “displacement and non planing, must have registration lettering a minimum of 75mm high. The characters must also be plain characters in a contrasting colour to the hull. There are some exemptions and concessions in some cases and if you are unsure I would advise you to contact your local Waterways authority for clarification.

The Maritime Safety Queensland's webpage also states that tenders that are used from larger mother boats are exempt from registration if they are used within 2 nautical miles of the mother boat. The tender must be marked with the word “Tender” as well as the mother boat’s registration numbers. Again the characters must be a minimum of 75mm high.

Jet Skis also have there own guidelines. All Personal Water Craft (PWC) must be registered. Registration characters must be displayed on both sides, port and starboard, be at least a minimum of 100mm high and also be in a contrasting colour to the hull. Jet Ski registration stickers used to be 75mm high in Queensland but since January 2006 stickers are now to be 100mm high. A fine of $150.00 will be enforced if you are caught with the wrong size lettering.

It is worth getting your tape measure and measuring the vertical size of your lettering. If it does not conform I would advise contacting your local boat names or sticker/sign writer and organizing the correct size. Nothing ends a day on the water worse than fine over a trivial compliance issue.

Still on the subject of stickers, how many of us know exactly where the annual registration label is to be affixed to the hull? The registration label for the hull is to be placed on the port side of the vessel close to the registration characters.The authorities need to have the label near the registration characters as to identify whether the boat is registered whilst they are using binoculars or driving past. It helps make there job easier, however I still think it would be prudent to have the sticker near the helm, so the skipper knows without doubt if the boat is registered or not.  If you place your registration label in a hard to see spot, don’t be annoyed when the authorities come over and interrupt your peace and quiet.

The trailer registration label is no longer supplied nor printed by Queensland Transport as of October 2014. However your trailer still needs be kept registered though! You can now simply see if a trailer (car/box trailer/camper trailer etc) is registered via online at this link https://www.service.transport.qld.gov.au/checkrego/application/VehicleSearch.xhtml?windowId=641

All in all these simple checks will ensure you and your rig are compliant on the waterways and the roads. And may also help you avoid a possible fine by not infringing the local laws and regulations that seem to govern our life! If you have any questions pertaining to your rig don’t hesitate to contact your local Marine Queensland member or your local Queensland Department of Transport office.

Until next month, safe boating!

Matthew Hodson
Managing Director
John Crawford Marine celebrating 50 plus years in business!