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Unique vessel identifiers

A unique identifier—also sometimes called a unique vessel identifier—is like a number plate for your vessel.

Domestic commercial vessels must have and display a unique identifier unless they are exempt.

A unique identifier is a number that stays with the vessel for its entire life, even if the vessel changes ownership. Unique identifiers help to identify domestic commercial vessels.

A vessel may need to be identified: 

  • For search and rescue purposes.
  • If it has been lost or stolen.
  • If it is being operated dangerously or illegally.
  • If it is being surveyed.

Some vessels are exempt from the requirement to have a unique identifier, or from displaying it or both. 

Different vessels and their unique identifier requirements 

Definitions

*A human powered vessel is:

  • Propelled only by human powered devices.
  • A canoe or kayak that is propelled by human powered devices and is fitted with:
    • An auxiliary motor of ≤3.5 kW propulsion power, or
    • An auxiliary electric propulsion motor of ≤24 volts and a total battery capacity of ≤20 kWh.

^A sailing vessel is a vessel designed for and capable of undertaking a voyage propelled by sail alone, and has: 

  • No auxiliary motor, or 
  • An auxiliary motor  of ≤3.5 kW propulsion power, or
  • An auxiliary electric propulsion motor of ≤24 volts and a total battery capacity of ≤20 kWh.

Last updated: 

Tuesday 7 May 2019