Covid-19 Boating Update

Here are some guidelines from the NSW Maritime website as to what you can and can’t do regarding water-based activities.

From 31 March 2020, NSW Government Public Health Orders have been updated requiring people to stay at home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. View or download the Public Health Order.

Unless you have an essential need to be out – stay home.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home to use your boat could be to:

  1. exercise (e.g. kayaking/sailing/paddling/fishing etc);
  2. get to and from work, where the work cannot reasonably be performed from home;
  3. get groceries; and
  4. provide assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family

Socialising or cruising on the water is not a ‘reasonable excuse’ to leave your home.

Remember, social distancing and social gathering rules apply at all times – including at the boat ramp and on your boat.

Skippers must also remember their other safety responsibilities regarding safety equipment, alcohol consumption, keeping a proper lookout and proceeding at a safe speed.

For the latest information on coronavirus and current restrictions, members of the community are encouraged to check the NSW Government website for regular updates.

Permitted water-based activities under the current Public Health Orders

Social distancing and social gathering rules are to be observed at all times during any of the below activities. When on a commercial or public boat, the skipper is to ensure there are only 2 people on board, unless they are members of the same household. There must also be 4 square metres of space for each person on board.

When on a private boat, because it is not a public place, the restriction on gatherings of more than 2 people does not apply. However, the skipper is to ensure there is 4 square metres of space for each person on board. If there is not 4 square metres of space per person, the skipper will not be complying with the Public Health Order.

The latest information on social distancing and social gathering rules are available on the NSW Government website.

If you are satisfied you meet all the criteria, please still only travel and boat locally.

Note below activities that are permitted under the current Public Health Orders:

PWC/jet ski for transportation or fishing

  • Social distancing and social gathering rules apply
  • Considered as exercise or transportation

Fishing

  • Social distancing and social gathering rules apply
  • Anchoring permitted while fishing only
  • Considered as exercise

Tow sports (water-skiing, wake sports etc.)

  • Social distancing and social gathering rules apply
  • Must have a skipper and observer in addition to the person being towed
  • Considered as exercise

Sailing

  • Social distancing and social gathering rules apply
  • Considered as exercise

Kayaking or paddle sports

  • Social distancing and social gathering rules apply
  • Considered as exercise

Activities that are not permitted:

General boating for recreational purposes

  • Not considered a reasonable excuse

Stay overnight on a boat or hire a boat/houseboat

  • Not considered a reasonable excuse

Purchasing, maintaining and servicing your vessel

The following activities are considered reasonable excuses to leave your home as they fall under the category of obtaining goods and services or undertaking a legal obligation:

  • Travel to a dealership or retail store to pick up boating equipment
  • Access a vessel at a marina or on a mooring to maintain, service or check on systems and make sure it is safe and compliant (per legal obligations to do so)
  • Take a vessel to a marina or boat shed for repairs or servicing
  • Pick up vessel from a marina or boat shed after servicing
  • Pick up a vessel that you have purchased from a dealer, broker or person and tow it home
  • Take a vessel to a marina or broker to prepare a vessel for sale
  • Move a vessel between marinas or moorings for relocation purposes

Social distancing and social gathering rules are to be observed at all times during any of the above activities. The latest information on social distancing and social gathering rules are available on the NSW Government website.

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 Order and will use discretion to assess whether community members have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to be out on the water, and whether there have been any breaches
    To report a breach contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a report via the Crime Stoppers website.
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