What to display on your vessel

Find out what numbers and labels to put on a vessel for NSW registration. And how you must display these. Also, how to get a personalised registration number.

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Meet rego requirements

You must display certain numbers and labels on your vessel for registration.

These guidelines show you how to do this legally and correctly.

You’re no longer required to display a registration label in NSW.

But you must still display the following, depending on your vessel type.

Registration number

All vessels in NSW must display a registration number.  

It must be displayed:

  • on both sides of the hull, or on the transom if it’s a sailing boat
  • in solid and clear text, in contrasting colour to the hull
  • in numerals and uppercase letters
  • for powerboats, a minimum 150mm high
  • for sailing boats and PWC, a minimum 100mm high
  • well above the normal waterline so it can be seen at all times.
Registration number on a boat
Registration number on a boat. The vessel registration number must be a minimum of 150mm high on the hull. WEARITN is a personalised registration number
Registration number on a PWC
Registration number on PWC. The registration number must be in a contrasting colour to the hull

Hull Identification Number (HIN or Boatcode)

All vessels in NSW must display an HIN (Boatcode).

This must be permanently attached and clearly displayed on the hull.

This is usually done by manufacturers of newer boats.

Find a Boatcode Agent to help get andancing for you then?

HIN or certificate for an older boat.

HIN Plate
Sample plate showing Hull Identification Number (HIN). The HIN is attached to or moulded into the Hull

Safety label

Powered vessels (not including sailing boats with an engine or PWC) must have a safety label that:

  • shows the maximum number of people and the load it can carry, and other important safety information
  • is displayed where everyone on board can see it.

 Also see Essential safety equipment.

Safety label
The safety label label must be affixed in an area of the vessel where it can best be seen by the vessel master, crew and passengers

PWC behaviour label

All personal watercraft (PWC) must have the PWC behaviour label. This shows key rules the driver must follow.

PWC Behaviour Label
PWCs must display a PWC Behaviour Label with essential safety advice

Australian Builders Plate (ABP)

If you have a powerboat or PWC in NSW, you may need an ABP.

Most powerboats, including imported boats, built after 1 July 2006 must have an ABP that:

  • provides safety information about the boat’s capability and capacity
  • is permanently attached to the boat (it's usually attached by the manufacturer or importer)
  • is clearly displayed where it can be seen by the driver – for example, in the cockpit or near the steering position.

If a boat is modified its ABP may no longer be valid.

PWC designed to carry more than 2 people must also have an ABP, or similar plate, showing maximum load and capacity.

PWC that meet ISO 13590 are exempt.

Australian Builders Plate
Sample Australian Builders Plates for vessels from Australian Recreational Boating Safety Committee. These must be permanently attached to the vessel in an area seen by the driver

Get a personalised vessel registration number

You can apply for a personalised vessel registration number in NSW.

There’s a one-off additional cost. They're subject to availability.

A personalised number can be any combination of up to six letters and numbers. It must always be followed by the letter 'N'. Transport can reject any application considered offensive.

To apply for a personalised vessel registration you need:

You can apply for a personalised vessel registration in person at any service centre.

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