Coffs Harbour Boat Ramp.
Coffs Harbour Boat Ramp.

Boating under Covid-19 what skippers need to know

PEOPLE in the same household can now go boating together since the easing of COVID-19 restrictions by the NSW Government.

With households, including families, in mind, a public health order was amended to allow them participation in all on water activities even if their vessel does not allow four square metres of space per person.

NSW Maritime A/ Executive Director Alex Barrell welcomed this news and said the previous restrictions had meant some boat owners were disadvantaged if they owned a smaller boat.

"The easing of, and clarification around, boating restrictions is a very welcome change and will ensure families will have the freedom of boating for leisure, without concerns about contravening health orders," Mr Barrell said.

"Previously, it was permissible only to use boats for exercise and individuals were required to maintain 4 square metres of space.

"Those who enjoy any kind of recreational boating in NSW can now do so knowing they are doing so lawfully, remembering to boat locally and always practice good personal hygiene."

Mr Barrel said in the instances when people choose to go recreational boating on NSW waterways with people who are not from the same household, it remains the skipper's responsibility to ensure that, where possible, there is 1.5 metres of space between each person on board.

Commercial and charter vessels may be operated under existing restrictions, as long as physical distancing is being followed by all on board.

"When onshore, it is important to not gather in public spaces such as boat ramps and wharves in groups of more than 10 people, unless you are with members of the same household," he said.

"NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers are out on the water ensuring skippers also remember their other safety responsibilities regarding safety equipment, alcohol consumption, keeping a proper lookout and travelling at a safe speed.

"If you do go boating, remember to log on and log off with your local Marine Rescue NSW unit on Channel 16 or the Marine Rescue app."

For the latest information on coronavirus and current restrictions, visit nsw.gov.au.