COVID-19 boating update

COVID updates for boaters.

A sail charter vessel
A sail charter vessel

Latest news

13 NOV 2020

13 NOV 2020NSW-VIC border opening

From 12.01am on Monday 23 November, the NSW Victorian border will reopen to allow people to enter from Victoria without quarantining.

This means people entering NSW from Victoria will no longer need to enter quarantine after this date, and boaters will be allowed to move freely between states. However, it is important to continue to practice social distancing at boat ramps and other waterway access points.

NSW is the first state to open its borders to all other states since the start of COVID-19. It is a welcome move towards kick-starting the economy and tourism, and the beginning of a more COVID normal as we lead up to 2021.

The current restrictions on movement across the NSW-Victoria border will stay in place until 12.01am on 23 November. For more information, please see the following media release.

NSW Health will continue to work closely with Victoria Government agencies to strengthen processes to support contact tracing across the two states.

30 SEP 2020

30 SEP 2020River Murray boating update

As at 28 September 2020 the NSW Government has amended the Public Health (Border Control) Order 2020. The changes mean that all Victorian residents who are not covered by a Victorian Area Direction or a COVID Area of Concern (as specified by the Victorian Chief Health Officer) are able to use the Murray River as long as they do not disembark on the NSW side of the river. View or download the amended order.

This amendment allows for Victorian residents who have not been in a COVID-19 area of concern or subject to a Victoria Area Direction, to enter NSW for the purpose of accessing the Murray River only and not disembark on the NSW side.

Importantly, this amendment to the Public Health Order imposes an obligation on vessel operators on the Murray River to take reasonable steps to ensure that a person who has been in a COVID-19 area of concern or an area listed by the Victorian Area Direction does not enter the vessel while it is on the Murray River. You can see whether an area is listed in the Victorian Area Direction on the Victoria's restriction levels website.

If a person who has been in an area of concern or an area listed by the Victorian Area Direction does board a vessel that goes on the Murray River, the operator of the vessel must take reasonable steps to ensure that the passenger does not disembark on an embankment, dock, port or wharf on the NSW side of the Murray River. Please note, this requirement does not apply in case of emergency.

Note also that Victorian border residents holding Border Entry Permits may still alight in NSW.

18 SEP 2020

18 SEP 2020River Murray boating update

As at 17 September 2020, the Public Health Order has been updated. Under the Public Health Orders the border region extends to 50 kilometres either side of the NSW/Victoria border. View or download the Border Region Map (PDF, 671Kb).

Border Region residents who hold a valid border entry permit are allowed to cross the border and move within the Border Region for any reason. However:

  • Entry into NSW is not permitted if the person has been to Metropolitan Melbourne in the last 14 days; and
  • Victorian residents are not permitted to travel beyond the Border Region in NSW.

These latest provisions allow boating activities to take place on the Murray River, provided Border Region residents hold a relevant permit and follow the conditions outlined in the Public Health Order. View or download the order (PDF, 392Kb). This includes the transportation of commercial vessels such as houseboats or paddlesteamers from Victoria to NSW using the Murray River, for the purpose of hire and use by people currently in NSW.

Any NSW resident, other than a Border Region resident who holds a permit, who goes ashore in Victoria will require a permit to re-enter NSW and will be subject to the conditions and requirements of that permit.

Visit the NSW Government website to view the border region map, check your address and access additional information.

Commercial vessels

The impact of this amendment for commercial vessels is that they can now carry Victorian residents on charter boats or houseboats anywhere on the Murray River.

While the Order does not create an obligation on Maritime operators to check customers' permits, it is an important part of your COVID-Safe Plan to remind customers that they are not permitted on the Murray River without a Border Region Resident permit, if they are not a NSW resident.

Again, we urge you to be conscious of the significantly increased health risk in Victoria. NSW Health strongly recommends that all drivers and customers wear a face mask on public transport and in all enclosed spaces.

4 SEP 2020

4 SEP 2020Boating around the NSW-Victoria border

As at 4 September 2020, the Public Health Order has been updated and the border region has been extended to 50km either side of the NSW/Victoria border.

Border Region residents who hold a valid border entry permit will be allowed to cross the border and move within the Border Region for the purpose of:

  • Obtaining necessary goods or services;
  • Care or compassionate reasons;
  • Attending work or obtaining educational services (where it is not possible to work or obtain educational services from home); and
  • To move to a new place of residence.
  • Border Region Residents will be subject to the following conditions:
  • Entry from VIC to NSW is only allowed for a permitted purpose (listed in the dot points above);
  • Entry into NSW is not permitted if the person has been to an area in VIC beyond the Border Region in the last 14 days;

VIC residents are not permitted to travel beyond the Border Region in NSW;

These new provisions would allow the following boating activities to take place, providing Border Region residents hold a relevant permit and follow the conditions outlined in the Public Health Order:

  • Transportation of commercial vessels such as houseboats or paddlesteamers from Victoria to NSW using the Murray River, for the purpose of hire and use by people currently in NSW

Any NSW resident, other than a Border Region resident who holds a permit, who goes ashore in Victoria will require a permit to re-enter NSW and will be subject to the conditions and requirements of that permit.

Visit the NSW Government website to view the border region map, check your address and access additional information.

Again, we urge you to be conscious of the significantly increased health risk in Victoria. NSW Health strongly recommends that all drivers and customers wear a face mask on public transport.

30 JUL 2020

30 JUL 2020Commercial vessels need a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Under the NSW Public Health Order, commercial vessel operators are required to develop and comply with a COVID-19 Safety Plan.

Recently, some of the requirements for that plan have been updated. To simplify the process, templates exist for each business type.

View or download:

10 JUL 2020

10 JUL 2020Update: Border restrictions on the Murray River

NSW waters are considered to commence from the high water mark situated on the Victorian side of the Murray River.

People currently in Victoria who intend to enter NSW waters using a vessel on the Murray River must have a permit.

This requirement applies:

  • To each person on board a vessel entering NSW waters from Victoria; and
  • To all recreational and commercial vessels, including houseboats.

NSW Police are patrolling the area and enforcing border entry requirements, similar to road travel into NSW. A person found breaching the Public Health (COVID-19 Border Control) Order 2020 faces an $11,000 fine and six months in prison. Visit the NSW Government website for further information about border restrictions.

You can apply for a border entry permit via Service NSW.

People currently in NSW may continue to boat on the Murray River while staying within NSW waters. Transport for NSW encourages boaters to keep safety top-of-mind, including wearing a lifejacket, carrying the required safety equipment, regularly checking weather forecasts and being aware of the risks associated with cold water.

We urge you to be aware of the increased health risk in Victoria, so please take extra care and be vigilant about physical distancing, minimising contact with others and maintaining good hygiene to slow the spread of Coronavirus.

NSW Maritime - COVID-19 Boating Update for NSW

View the latest information about Public Health Orders.

Recreational Vessels

All recreational boating is permitted.

  • If those onboard are members of the same household, there does not need to be four square metres of space for each person.
  • If those onboard are not members of the same household, they should maintain a physical distance of 1.5 metres from others, as is reasonably practicable.

People should always remember to practice good personal hygiene.

Commercial Vessels

Commercial and charter vessels may operate, but must ensure they are operating within the restrictions associated with their category of business and the required distancing requirements.

Onshore activities

When onshore, do not gather as more than 30 people. This applies in any public place, such as a wharf or publicly accessible vessel. Skippers must also remember their other safety responsibilities regarding safety equipment, alcohol consumption, keeping a proper lookout and proceeding at a safe speed.

Further information about what you can and can’t do is available on What you can and can't do under the rules.

Information about boat ramps

All boat ramps in NSW are managed by local councils, the National Parks and Wildlife Service or WaterNSW – with the exception of four ramps managed by Transport for NSW at Carrington, North Stockton, South Stockton and Port Kembla.

Contact your local council for more information about specific boat ramps. There are no current plans to close the ramps managed by Transport for NSW.

Reporting a breach of restrictions

NSW Police is the relevant enforcement authority for the Public Health Orders.

To report a breach of COVID-19 restrictions contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report via the Crime Stoppers website.

NSW Maritime is committed to working with, and supporting the people of the NSW boating community to manage the issues presented by COVID-19.

How can we help?

NSW Maritime is committed to working with, and supporting the people of the NSW boating community to manage the issues presented by COVID-19.

If you are experiencing financial difficulties, please contact us on 13 12 36 (option 2) to discuss our support options.

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