Detection of illegal behaviour on NSW waters

Understand how Transport for NSW (Maritime) and NSW Police detect offences, using cameras, breath testing and drug testing on NSW waterways.

Camera recorded offences

The marine legislation provides that specialised camera recording equipment can be used to detect a number of serious offences. An authorised officer is able to issue a penalty or court attendance notice for offences caught on camera.

The penalty or court attendance notice will be issued to the owner of the vessel. If the owner was not operating the vessel at that time, they will be required to nominate the operator. The offence will still be recorded against the vessel, which may lead to impounding or seizure.

Alcohol and drug offences

Random breath testing (RBT) and random drug testing (RDT) can be conducted on the operator of a vessel while it is underway, including drifting. RBT and RDT do not apply when a vessel is moored, berthed or at anchor.

Being detected in excess of the permissible concentration of alcohol by way of a breath test may result in NSW Police issuing a court attendance notice.

Maritime Body-Worn Video Camera Trial

Body-Worn Video Cameras (BWVC) are now being trialled by Transport for NSW (Maritime) to increase officer safety and gather evidence into breaches of marine law.

Boating Safety Officers work alone the majority of the time they are out on the water and BWVC footage will be used to provide an accurate record of events for approved purposes, including investigations and law enforcement.

When worn by a maritime officer, BWVC are clearly visible to the public and consent to record is required before the camera can be activated. Each recording will then be safely stored in a secure data management system and, as defined by the State Records Act or other Transport for NSW guidelines, will only be kept as long as necessary.

If you wish to obtain a copy of the recording, applications for consideration may be made via email. These can be sent to maritimecompliance@rms.nsw.gov.au. You may be required to provide additional information or complete other forms, depending on the nature of your request. Normal Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) and subpoena processes are also an alternative to requesting a copy.

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