Slashing red tape on the water

1 July 2016

Important changes to the Marine Safety Regulation take effect from today to make using the state’s waterways simpler and safer.

“The amendments aim to increase safety on the water with changes introduced to ensure vessels passing swimmers and divers keep safe distances, reduced speed limits for vessels carrying and towing children, and compulsory life jacket changes for some watercraft,” said Neil Patchett from Transport for NSW’s Maritime team.

“Decisive new powers have also been granted to maritime authorities to immediately suspend a boat or personal watercraft driving licence for serious safety offences, including medium to high range drink driving, and reckless, dangerous and negligent navigation.

“These powers will be used to ensure the safety of everyone who sets out to enjoy our waterways.”

Life jackets are compulsory for people on board canoes, kiteboards, kayaks, sailboards or watercraft under 4.8 metres long when travelling alone, at night or when in open or alpine waterways.

Changes will also require vessels to maintain a clearance zone of 60 metres from people in the water, while a speed limit of 60 knots has been introduced for vessels towing a person under 18 years old.

Mr Patchett also said changes to boat licencing and registration will make owning a boat easier.

"Anyone applying for a boat driving licence will now only be required to demonstrate practical boating experience and pass a knowledge test, removing the need to complete a theory based boating safety course,” said Mr Patchett.

“We’re also cutting registration red tape by eliminating the need for boats to display a registration label or trade plate.

“We worked closely with maritime industry stakeholders and the general community in developing these changes to support a culture of safe and responsible boating.

“Through these changes the NSW Government is making sure that people continue to enjoy our marvellous waterways, while at the same time reducing the time and costs involved with administration.”

The Marine Safety Regulation 2016 can be viewed online at www.legislation.nsw.gov.au.

View the original media release.

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