Exemption 4—Marine Safety (Recreational use)

This exemption is for owners of domestic commercial vessels who may wish to use their vessels for recreational use occasionally.


What this exemption will allow you to do

Approval is no longer required to operate under Exemption 04. Existing approvals remain valid. 

Owners are exempt from the need to comply with some requirements that usually apply when the vessel is operated for commercial, governmental or research purposes.

These conditions relate to crewing and operational area limitations.

While operating under Exemption 04 you must:

  • only use the vessel for recreational use and not use it at the same time in connection with a commercial, governmental or research activity
  • comply with maximum load and passenger restrictions
  • comply with local recreational vessel requirements, except those requiring the vessel to be registered as a recreational vessel or to meet Australian Builder’s Plate requirements
  • deal with the risks of operating recreationally in the safety management system 
  • secure or isolate any powered equipment, lifting equipment or other machinery that could pose a danger to passengers
  • record any recreational use in the log book.

Exemption 04 does not make your vessel a recreational vessel. Domestic commercial vessel requirements other than crewing and operational area limitations still apply.

Chartering a vessel 

If someone charters a boat to you and you use it recreationally, Exemption 04 does not apply, because chartering a vessel is a commercial activity. If the owner uses it recreationally—for example to take friends fishing—the owner may be able to operate under Exemption 04.

Relocating a vessel

Exemption 04 cannot be used to take a domestic commercial vessel overseas or to relocate it.

Legislation and incorporated material

Related information


Last updated: 27 February 2023