Safety Updates and News

Two stroke engines - soon to be banned in Australia.

The Department of the Environment has announced July 1, 2018, as the date to commence new emission standards for non-road spark ignition engines and equipment (NRSIEE) — which includes all marine engines — with an extended transition of the full implementation of the regulations through to July 2019.

Manufacturers, importers, and suppliers of NRSIEE should be planning to ensure that they do not have any unsold non-compliant stock in their possession by 1 July 2019. 

In general, four-stroke and direct-injection two-stroke engines are being used to meet the new emission standards for marine. 

Outboards and non-handheld equipment currently using conventional (carby) two-stroke engines are unlikely to meet the requirements of the new emission standards, the Department warns.

The Australian emission standards will not be retrospective and will only apply to new NRSIEE products brought to Australia or supplied within Australia, not to those that people already own. 

While any price drop on carby two-stroke outboard engines has been ruled out by the big importers — they say they're expensive to produce — the value of second-hand carby engines will drop in the near future. As these old-tech outboards are phased out, trade-in values will likely fall, too. So perhaps you should think about upgrading to a four stroke or direct-injection two stroke sooner rather than later.

The Boating Industry Association (BIA) says it welcomes the recent announcement from the Department of the Environment confirming Minister Frydenberg’s decision to introduce marine engine emission standards under the National Clean Air Agreement with an extended phase-in period.

"We welcome the certainty this decision provides for our members who are now able to plan new product development with a clear understanding how future regulation and standards will impact their products and businesses," BIA National CEO Howard Glenn said. 

"We’re very pleased that the Department has been able to provide a long phase-in period, allowing industry to ensure any non-compliant product stocks they hold have been appropriately cleared."

The BIA also noted the decision not to include evaporative emission standards at this time, which were to influence the way boats and their fuel systems were built. The BIA will undertake further consultation to ensure boat manufacturers are represented in these consultations and to get agreement on the new standards as soon as possible.

"The boating industry and boaters themselves are very protective of the marine environment and play a big role in maintaining the quality of our waterways. These standards are a small but important contribution to continuous improvement in environmental management," Mr Glenn said.

The Department says its key objective is to reduce air pollution from petrol-powered gardening equipment, generators, pumps and marine engines, which are said to be high polluters relative to their size and contribute significantly to outdoor air pollution. Operated in close proximity, users are also subjected to high levels of pollutants, it says.

A small carby two-stroke engine used for one hour can emit the same emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) as a car, and as much hydrocarbons as 150 cars, when operated over the same period.

Manufacturers, importers, and suppliers of NRSIEE products should start planning now to bring their product lines into compliance with the new exhaust emission standards. The lead times mean there is approximately 18 months from now until non-compliant NRSIEE can no longer be brought into Australia.

Full details of the standards to be introduced are available at the Department’s dedicated webpage at