Boating is an extremely popular activity in and around Australian coastal waterways. There are 2.7 million coastal boaters in Australia, of which 700,000 are frequent participants. An estimated 18% of Australians go boating each year, with the majority from Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales. 

Recreational boating is consistently the second highest coastal drowning activity nationally (following swimming & wading). Between 2004-19, more than half (53%) of all coastal boating drowning deaths were known not to be wearing a lifejacket. Lifejackets clearly positively impact the outcome of boating incidents yet are rarely worn as recommended. Currently, legislation is state-based and varies according to each state. 

Minimising Your Risks

Before you go boating it’s important that you STOP. LOOK. PLAN


  • Check the weather. Is it a boating day today?
  • Check the tides and other water conditions


  • Ensure there are lifejackets for each person
  • Check over your boat and engine
  • Ensure you have a phone, EPIRB, spot tracker and/or radio


  • Let someone know where you’re planning to go and when you plan to be back
  • Know what to do in an emergency
  • Know your boat and waterway regulations
  • Remember alcohol and boating don’t mix
What to Do in an Emergency
  • Dial 000 on your mobile or put out a call over your radio
  • Activate the EPIRB (if required)
  • If you’re not in immediate danger report any incident to your State police
  • Stay calm and move away from any danger
  • Ensure everyone is wearing a lifejacket
  • For more information check the Maritime/Transport service in your State

For more information visit the home of recreational boating at My Boating Life