Low powered kayaks and canoes

Low powered kayaks and canoes

Red Tape Regulation

A person who wants to paddle a low powered electric kayak must carry a current boat licence that costs $34.90, annual registration that costs $40.40 per year and the minimum prescribed safety equipment for powerboats in their kayak. These requirements apply if somebody wants to install a 0.18kw motor on the back of a sit-on-top kayak (e.g. to help when fishing). These requirements do not apply to people who go out on the water on a kayak that is not powered. The cost of the requirements can exceed the cost of a 0.18kw motor, and could prevent businesses from selling their products to people who wish to install a little motor to help when fishing in Victoria.

Current status

TSV is currently reviewing marine licensing and vessel registration requirements for low-powered electrically-propelled kayaks and canoes, including an examination of options for removing or providing certain exemptions from these requirements. The review necessarily involves consideration of the following:

  • the definition of a ‘low-powered’ canoe or kayak, taking into account a maximum speed, tare mass of the vessel and power rating
  • the effectiveness of current safety equipment requirements for non-powered kayaks and canoes and the suitability of their application to low-powered craft (noting that a powered craft may have the capacity to travel further offshore)
  • any potential reduction in safety resulting from the change
  • the likely impact on other waterway users.

The project will include a cross-jurisdictional analysis of these issues and determine an appropriate mechanism by which the requirements for marine licensing and vessel registration may be removed or exempted for low powered electric kayaks or canoes, should the review demonstrate that there is no significant reduction in safety. TSV expects to complete this work by the end of 2016.