Marine Compliance

Electrical Safety is not Optional


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What are my responsibilities regarding the electrical installation on my boat?

Under the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994 owners and other persons involved with boats have a general safety obligation regarding the condition of boats, including the condition of a boat's electrical installation.

Low voltage electrical installations and electrical equipment on boats in Queensland must comply with the requirements of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 (ESA).
The ESA provides that only licensed electricians may perform electrical work. A licensed electrician must ensure that electrical work is in accordance with Australian/New Zealand Standard 3000 known as the wiring rules (AS/NZS 3000).

How can I meet my responsibilities regarding the electrical installation on boats?

Complying with the electrical standards and ensuring that electrical work on boats is performed by a licensed electrician is a way for owners and other persons involved with boat's electrical systems to meet their general safety obligations.

What standards apply to electrical installations on boats?

The electrician you employ must ensure that the low voltage installation complies with the wiring rules.

Provisions in AS/NZS 3000: 2007 apply to marinas and boats registered in Queensland– Electrical installations in marinas and recreational boats shall comply with AS/NZS 3004. Note 2 of clause, refers to National Standard for Commercial Vessels –
Part C Construction – Subsection 5B Electrical Edition 2 (NSCV Part C 5B).
AS/NZS 3004: 2014 Electrical installations – Marinas and recreational boats – Part 2: Recreational boat installations specifies requirements for the design, construction and installation of electrical systems in boats registered in Queensland that have a length of up
to 50 metres and are designed for use on inland waters  or at sea.

Another related standard is the NSCV C 5B, published by the National Marine Safety Committee in 2005. This is a commercial vessel standard that is also suited to electrical installations on boats registered in Queensland. This standard provides additional requirements and variations to AS/NZS 3000 necessary to reflect the requirements of the marine industry and the particular environment on boats, while satisfying the fundamental safety requirements of section 1 of AS/NZS 3000.

Will the electrical installation on an imported boat comply?

Imported boats complying with IEC/ISO standards, classification society rules or other known standards will comply with the fundamental safety requirements of section 1 of AS/NZS 3000. Compliance with section 1 ofAS/NZS 3000 is mandatory and if there are issues of conflict between these other standards and AS/NZS 3000 (for example, cable colour codes in low voltage installations of American built boats), if not resolved under AS/NZS 3000: 3.8 will require resolution on a case by case basis by Maritime Safety Queensland in consultation with the Electrical Safety Office before acceptance for compliance. Any person selling an imported boat, including an import agent, must ensure that the electrical equipment on board complies with Queensland legislation.


Prescribed electrical equipment includes such items ascircuit breakers, switches, safety switches, refrigerators and microwave ovens. Information about the requirements for approval of electrical equipment and examples of identifying approval marks on electrical
equipment is available on the Electrical Safety Office website (

What about maintenance and repairs to the electrical installation on a boat?

Maintenance and repairs to low voltage electrical installations on boats is electrical work and may only be performed by a licensed electrician.