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Rego exemption for kayaks with small motors

30 September 2014

Previously, any unpowered or human-powered vessel fitted with an engine or motor was required to be registered.

However the trial period allows operators to apply for exemptions from the registration, licence and specified safety equipment requirements.

To be eligible for an exemption, kayaks fitted with an electric motor must not exceed 150 newtons (33.7lb thrust) and must be maintained to the original manufacturer’s specifications.

Conditions of the exemption include that the power source for the electric motor must be a marine grade closed cell 12 volt battery and the kayak must be equipped with the safety equipment specified for a human-powered kayak.

A correctly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) must be worn by each person in the kayak.

To apply for an exemption from registration, licence and safety requirements, go to the kayaking and canoeing page on and fill in the application form.

The trial, although for an initial 12 month period, may be extended further while its success is evaluated.

Further information is available from DPTI Transport Safety Regulation Directorate, Boating Safety Unit, by telephoning 1300 183 046 or by email to


Kayaking and canoeing