Boating and watercraft activities are increasingly popular across Australia. An estimated 20% of the population participate in boating and watercraft-based activities annually. Drowning is the leading cause of boating-related fatalities, and while drowning deaths have steadily decreased over time, more work is required to address factors such as lifejacket wear and boating under the influence of alcohol. Boating makes significant social and economic contributions, from the proven health and wellbeing benefits of getting on the water, to supporting industry and jobs in manufacturing, tourism and leisure sectors.
Boating includes registered or non-registerable vessels that are powered by wind or motors, including motorboats, sailboats, catamarans and personal watercraft (PWC, also known as jet skis). Watercraft includes non-powered recreational equipment that require physical input from a person (e.g., surf boards, stand-up paddle boards, body/boogie boards, wind surfers, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, inflatable rafts and inflatable boats without motors).