Laws and Regulations

There are a number of laws that impact paddlers, most of which are directly related to paddling safety and preserving life on Victorian water ways. Below you’ll find a range of key things you need to be aware of. The list is not exhaustive, but provides a good start to keep you safe and informed when you go out for a paddle.

Some specialist organisations produce best practice standards as guidance for recreational paddler/s and organisations involved in paddling activities. See Paddling Safety Standards for more information.

Life Jackets

In Victorian it is mandatory to wear a legal Life Jacket for all kayaking and paddling related activities on all Victorian waterways.

See the Life Jackets page for further information.

Maritime Safety Victoria and the Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook describe the current standards related to legal life jackets in Victoria.

Paddle Craft Lighting

All paddle craft must carry at least one white light for operating during twilight and night hours which must be clearly visible. See Maritime Safety Victoria and/or the Victorian Recreational  Boating Safety Handbook for further information on paddle craft lighting.

Boat transport and overhang laws

Paddlers need to be aware of the legal requirements of transporting kayaks and paddle craft on Victorian road ways, whether it be on vehicle roofs or on boat trailers.

VicRoads is the body responsible for providing the information on paddle craft transport and Victorian Police and VicRoads enforce the law and regulations. Please see their Rear Overhang Limits for Cars and Trucks in Victoria document for further information on these requirements.