Safety guide for recreational boating

Recreational boats in the Northern Territory (NT) do not need registration.

You are also not required to hold a licence to drive them.

But you must follow:

  • minimum requirements for safety equipment, including any exemptions that are applicable
  • marine rules and regulations.

If you fail to follow the marine regulations, you may get infringement notices from boating inspectors or the police.

Read the Marine (General) Regulations 2013 and the Marine Act 1981. There are penalties for not complying with these regulations.

Minimum requirements for safety equipment

Check your safety equipment and ensure that it is:

  • in good condition
  • of regulation standard
  • available for immediate use.

Read and carry on board the minimum safety equipment requirements table PDF (1.0 MB).

Marine safety rules

You will find the below topics on the marine safety guide PDF (7.9 MB).


The following safety topics include:

  • safety requirements
  • marine infringement notices
  • Australian builders plates
  • anchors and anchoring
  • signals
  • navigational lights
  • avoiding collisions
  • steering and sailing rules
  • buoys, beacons and marks
  • fire prevention.


The following emergency topics include:

  • safety via satellite
  • flares
  • marine emergency procedures
  • distress signals
  • marine communications
  • radio distress procedures.


The following environment topics include:

  • marine pollution
  • tidal information.

Recreational fishing

The following recreational fishing topics include:

  • possessions
  • vessel limits
  • fish protection areas.

The guide also has information on:

  • intermediate waters
  • boating quiz
  • public boat ramps in the Darwin area and boat ramp locations - you can also read about how to find a boat ramp.

Recreational boat safety quiz

Test your knowledge about boating safety in the NT by taking the boating knowledge quiz.

Boating Knowledge Quiz website


Marine Safety NT
Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics
2nd Floor Energy House
18-20 Cavenagh Street
Darwin NT 0800

Phone: 08 8924 7100
Fax: 08 8924 7009

Last updated: 12 September 2022

Give feedback about this page.

Share this page:

URL copied!