Boat Registration Numbers - How to display them correctly

We give you a pair of 1 colour boat registration numbers FREE when you spend over $65 

Queensland Boat Registration Numbers

Your ship will be allocated boat registration numbers. These must be:

• Clearly visible in plain characters in a contrasting colour to the hull of your ship.

• The size of the characters depends on the type of ship and must be able to be read from a distance of 30 metres away.

• Ships not capable of planing should have characters a minimum of 75mm high on the sides or on the stern.

• Ships capable of planing should have characters a minimum of 200mm high on the sides.

• A label will be issued which must be placed on the exterior of the ship in a conspicuous place above the waterline.

PWC Personal watercraft registration numbers must be:

• Displayed on both sides.

• At least 100mm high.

• Legible from at least 30 metres.

• Clearly visible in a contrasting colour to the craft

• Easily seen while the craft is underway.

• The registration label must be displayed on the port (left) side of the craft adjacent to the registration symbols.


Tenders to registered recreational boats are exempt from boat registration provided they are used within two nautical miles of the primary ship. The tender must be marked on the exterior with the word "tender" and the primary ship registration numbers, at least 75mm high. If this is not possible, markings should be on the inside of the boat in the largest characters practicable. The tender may be marked with the owner's name if it is used for more than one of the owner's ships.

NSW Boat Registration Numbers

Mechanically propelled vessels 
Must show boat registration numbers on each side of the vessel at least 150mm high and clearly visible while underway. They should be located on the forward section of the vessel's hull on each side of the vessel.

Sailing vessels 
Must show boat registration numbers on the transom or on both sides of the hull adjacent to the stern. In the case of multi hull craft, the numbers must be on the outer faces of the external hulls adjacent to the stern. The figures must be at least 100mm high and be visible when the vessel is underway.

Note: For registration purposes, a "sailing vessel" means a vessel which has sails as its primary means of propulsion.

Must have registration numbers on each side of the craft in figures of at least 100mm high, where they are clearly visible when the vessel is underway.

Commercial vessels 
Must display a permit number or commercial registration number. The number must be displayed on each side of the hull or on the transom in figures at least 150mm high.

Boat Registration numbers must be clearly visible at a distance of 60m.
The Boat numbers should be of contrasting colours to the boat's hull. Dark numbers are standard on a light coloured hull, but on a dark coloured hull you should use white or pale numbers.

Victoria Boat Registration Numbers

Boat Registration numbers must be displayed on the hull of the vessel on each side of the bow as high as practicable above the waterline in characters that are:

• no less than 150mm high (or 100mm on a PWC)
• in proportionate breadth.

• Coloured in contrast to that of the surface on which they are displayed.

Boat Registration Label
Must be fixed in a conspicuous position on the outside or upper position of the vessel

South Australia Boat Registration Numbers

Motor boat registration label and numbers
The Boat registration number issued to the boat must be 

• Displayed on both sides of the bow using stick-on numbers
• A contrasting colour to the surface in figures at least 150mm high
• Clearly legible at a distance of 50 metres while the vessel is underway in clear weather. 
for boats less than 3 metres in length, registration numbers must be 
• At least 100mm high
• Clearly visible from 50 metres. 

Note: On boats with excessively flared bows making display of boat registration numbers difficult, approval may be granted to display the boat numbers on each side of the cabin.

Your Boat registration label must be 
• Securely affixed to the boat adjacent to the steering position
• Clearly visible to a person inspecting the boat from aboard. 

Western Australia Boat Registration Numbers

Placement of boat Registration Numbers and boat registration Sticker

Boat Numbers must be fixed as follows: 
Power Boats: Midships on the side or superstructure of a vessel where they are clearly visible and not under the flare of the bow - 150mm high. 

Yachts: On the side of the hull immediately forward of the transom - 50mm high. 

Tenders: must have its parent vessel's registration number displayed on each side of the boat, forward of the transom. 

The boat registration identification label is to be affixed on the port (left) side of the vessel, outside and immediately adjacent to the registration number. 

Tasmania Boat Registration Numbers

• You must attach your boat registration label in a position that is visible from outside the vessel.
• You must also display your boat registration numbers, 150mm high, on each side of the vessel.

Northern Territory Boat Registration Numbers

No boat registration is required in the Northern Territory.

Selling or Buying a Boat ? Here is a list of what you need for each state

boat registration numbersAll States in Australia require most recreational boats to be registered. Each State has slightly different definitions and exemptions but by and large if its got an engine or is over 5m in length, registration will probably be required. This involves paperwork and of course a fee.

Every registered boat should have a registration certificate and a registration label attached to the boat. Transfer of registration and the documents required varies from State to State.

Here’s a run down with links to the websites, most of which have the appropriate forms as down-loadable documents.

NSW Maritime

- Completed “Notice of disposal”
- Registration Certificate signed by the registered controller (usually the owner or seller)
- Proof of acquisition, ie receipt or bill of sale etc
- Boatcode or HIN certificate
- Proof of Identity

Maritime Safety Queensland

- Completed “Recreational Ship Registration Transfer Application”
- Registration Certificate
- Gas Safety Compliance Certificate if applicable

Western Australia DPI

- Completed “Boat Transfer Notification of Change of Ownership”
- Boat Registration Certificate
- Receipt or Bill of Sale etc
- Boatcode or HIN Certificate (The seller must provide a HIN plate prior to selling)

South Australia Dept of Transport

- Completed “Application for new owner re-registration of a motor boat”
- Boatcode or HIN certificate ( All SA registered vessels must obtain a HIN on transfer of ownership if not currently held)
- Proof of Ownership (new owner) ie receipt, bill of sale, purchase contract, statutory declaration etc)
- Proof of Identity

Marine and Safety Tasmania

- Completed “Change of Ownership” form
- Proof of ownership ( new owner) ie receipt, bill of sale or ownership papers

Marine Safety Victoria

No specific information provided on the website

The Northern Territories and ACT don’t require recreational boat registration at this time.

This information is provided in good faith but not guaranteed. Always check with the appropriate Government Department for any changes and corrections.

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