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Marine Safety Regulation 2016
On 1 July, the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 replaced the Marine Safety (General)
Regulation 2009. The changes were designed to promote safety, reduce red tape
and improve administrative efficiency. The most significant changes include:
• Licence applicants no longer need to complete a theory-based boating safety
course before getting a licence. Current requirements to complete practical
boating training and a knowledge test continue to apply
• A new 10-year licence has been introduced and a separate licence class for
people under 16 years of age was removed. Current young adult licences will
be recognised until they expire
• Boats no longer require a registration label
• New lifejacket standards (AS4758) have been adopted
• Requirements for wearing lifejackets have been simplified
• Safe distance requirements have been strengthened to require vessels to
remain 60 metres from people in the water and dive flags, or if that is not
practicable a safe distance and speed. Power-driven vessels travelling at six
knots or more must also maintain a distance of 30 metres from vessels, land
or structures, or if that is not practicable a safe distance and speed.
Cold water can be
Before you head out on the water:
• Check the weather
• Wear appropriate clothing
• Wear a lifejacket
• Ensure your vessel is
appropriate for the conditions
To find out more visit
The ‘off season’ is typically a time for carrying out significant work on your boat in
readiness for the upcoming season. The same can apply to our boating legislation
which is the framework to support safe, responsible boating and enjoyable boating.
The winter of 2016 is a case in point. The NSW parliament passed an amendment
Bill in June which will see the introduction of new measures for this summer to
respond to ‘hoon’ behaviour on our waterways.
Intimidating, menacing and dangerous behaviour will be tackled through stronger
compliance measures and penalties. This applies to all vessels – including personal
watercraft (PWC), tinnies, speed boats etc. However, a major focus is on PWC –
in response to ongoing compliance and community concerns about the safe and
responsible use of these vessels.
The majority of people who own and operate personal watercraft (PWC) are safe
and responsible. There is, however, a minority who operate in a menacing and
dangerous manner, putting the safety of other people on the waterway at risk and
reducing the amenity of waterside areas.
In response to these ongoing issues, the new measures
will include the following:
The ‘hoon’ sanctions allow an authorised officer to seize a vessel (including the
boat trailer) used in a ‘hoon’ offence and impound that vessel. Such a vessel will be
impounded for three months, if the vessel is used for a second ‘hoon’ offence within
a five year period, the vessel will be forfeited to the Crown.
The Bill also introduced powers to establish a camera recording scheme for
enforcement purposes. Camera recording will allow increased and more cost
effective enforcement of safety requirements and provide a strong deterrent to
illegal activity when enforcement officers cannot be present on the water.
Vessel owners will be liable for camera recorded offences but will then be able to
nominate the person actually operating the vessel at the time of the offence. A
penalty notice or court attendance notice will then be sent to that person. It is
noteworthy that 77% of offences committed on a PWC are committed by a person
who is not the owner.
Camera technology will be used specifically to detect non-compliant vessel
operation where there is intimidating, menacing and dangerous behaviour on the
Cameras will be placed in restricted and gazetted locations in the Botany Bay,
Georges River, and Port Hacking region for the sole purpose of compliance
enforcement. Locations will be chosen through an evidenced-based process with
priority given to locations with known high-risk, menacing or dangerous behaviour.
New measures for this summer to respond to
‘hoon’ behaviour on our waterways
For more information refer to www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/marine-safety-
regulation/index.html or call 13 12 36.
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