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NSW Marine Safety Regulation 2016 - What's Changed? 

The NSW Marine Safety Regulation 2016 (The Regs) were enacted on 1 July, 2016.  Within these new Regulations there were some significant changes that will affect on water boating as well as the process involved to obtain a NSW Boat Licence.

Obtaining a NSW Boat Licence

  • The most significant change in relation how you obtain a NSW boat licence is that the Boating Safety Course is no longer compulsory.  Anyone can simply walk in to a RMS Office and sit the exam without the need to have attended some sort of Boating Safety Course.  For those of you tempted to do this, just bear in mind that you need to teach yourself everything you need to know to pass the exam.  
  • RMS will charge you $34 per licence exam attempt.  
  • The licence test has increased from 40 questions to 50 questions and you will now need to get 100% correct in the first 20 questions as opposed to the old exam which was only the first 15 questions.  
  • For some people looking to save a few dollars, this option may actually end up costing you more.  Obviously I, along with many people who already have their boat licence, would recommend attending a course like ours so you can learn as much as possible to help you pass the exam but also keep yourselves and everyone else safe out on the water.
  • The practical component has not changed.  You will still need to complete the RMS logbook or attend an on water practical lesson with a Recognised Training Provider (RTP).
  • There is now a 10 year renewal option on your boat licence.  
  • The label "Young Adult licence" no longer exists.  Everyone is a licence holder but those under the age of 16 years old still have certain restrictions placed upon them.

Vessel Registration

  • We no longer have boat registration labels.  Just like vehicles in NSW, they are gone.
  • Your vessel must be registered if it is over 5.5 metres or more in length, or
  • You vessel has an engine of 4.0 kilowatts (5.364 hp) or more. 

The previous exemption that if your vessel was not capable of doing over 10kts has been removed. 

Changes to the Rules that will affect you out on the water.

Distance Off Rules.  

Previously the Regs prescribed a set distance off you had to maintain from a certain thing or people when travelling at a speed of 10kts or more.  These rules have changed a fair bit in that -

  • You must stay at least 30 metres away from the hard stuff such as another boat, land, structure and the like when travelling at 6kts or more.  if that distance is not practicable, you must keep a safe distance and speed.
  • You must stay at least 60 metres away from the soft stuff which is a person in the water and passive craft such as a canoe or kayak for example, AT ANY SPEED.  If that distance is not practicable, you must keep a safe distance and speed.
  • You must stay at least 60 metres from a dive flag at any speed and if that distance is not practicable, you must keep a safe distance and speed.

Towing Wake Boarders & Wake Surfers.

Previously Wake surfing was illegal in NSW.  I dare say after a fair bit of pressure from the Wakesurfing Fraternity a good outcome has been achieved for those wishing to Wakesurf.  You are now allowed to wakesurf under certain conditions.  These are -

  • The towing vessel is fitted with functioning carbon monoxide emission mitigating equipment (e.g. a fresh air exhaust) and 
  • The towing vessel is not fitted with a propeller at the aft most position of the hull.  i.e. Vessels with a stern drive or outboard engine are not permissable to use for wakesurfing.

Lifejacket Wearing

It is fantastic to finally see the lifejacket rules written in such a way so that they are reasonably straight forward to understand and the boating alone rules making sense now.  

The new Regs have removed the terms underway and at all times and just mentions being 'operated'.  There is no definition within the Regs of exactly what being 'operated' means.  I would suggest you err on the side of caution and perhaps deem this to mean that as soon as you are on the water in your boat you are 'operating' it until there is a clear definition available.

  • The clause applies to - canoes (includes a kayak), kiteboards, sailboards, vessels under 4.8m in length (a kayak could be included as this) and an off the beach sailing vessel.
  • Each person on board a vessel mentioned above must wear an appropriate lifejacket when -
  • (a)  the vessel is being operated between sunset and sunrise (night time), or
  • (b)  the vessel is being operated on open waters, or
  • (c)  the vessel is being operated in alpine waters, or
  • (d)  when the person is not accompanied by another person 12 years of age or more  i.e. boating alone.

Lifejacket Wearing - Kids Under 12 Years of Age.

A child who is under 12 years of age must wear an appropriate lifejacket if the child is -

  • (a) on board a vessel that is less than 4.8m in length, or
  • (b) in an open area on board a vessel that is less than 8m in length and is underway.
  • The lifejacket must be the appropriate size for the child.

These are only some of the Rules that have changed that in my opinion will have a direct affect on a large number of boaters.  To have a full understanding of all the rule changes I would strongly recommend you read the Marine Safety Regulations for yourself.  If you have any questions about the new rules or our courses just give me a call on Mb 0409 594 939.

 

Do I Need a Marine (Boat) Licence To Operate a Canoe or Kayak If It Has a Motor in Victoria? 

This is a question that I am being asked more and more as the word slowly starts to filter out to everyone.  The simple answer is YES.  In Victoria, any vessel that has a motor on it must be registered.  To drive a registered vessel, you must have a Marine (boat) licence. 

So to go into a bit more detail, here are the rules taken from the Victorian - Marine Safety Act 2010 and the Marine Safety Regulations - 2012.  It might take a few reads but bear with me as we work through it. 

Read more: Do I Need a Marine (Boat) Licence To Operate a Canoe or Kayak If It Has a Motor in Victoria?

NSW Boat Licence Course Vs Victorian Boat Licence Course

I am regularly asked whether a NSW resident can get a Victorian boat licence.  Why?  Because a Victorian boat licence costs less then a NSW boat licence.  The simple answer is yes you can BUT what Vic Roads and other Victorian course providers won't tell you is that if you live in NSW then you should have a NSW licence and if you live in Victoria you should have a Vic boat licence.  Basically it is the same as your car drivers licence.  The Victorian course providers want your business, even if it means placing you at risk of receiving some nasty fines out there on the water.

If you are a NSW resident, holding a Vic boat licence, operating on NSW waters and happen to be checked by a NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officer (BSO) who knows their stuff, you can and more than likely will be issued with a $250 penalty notice for being unlicensed.  The Vic boat licence will be OK to use on Victorian Waters but it is not valid on NSW waters (if you are a NSW resident).

Read more: I Live In NSW - Can I Get a Victorian Boat Licence?

Winterising Your vessel

 

Well someone has definitely flicked the switch on the big fridge in the sky and winter is well and truly here.  For many of us, the urge to go boating disappears and our pride and joy gets put to bed for the winter.  The problem is though, alot of people don't prepare their boats for hibernation and when it comes time to use the boat again, the thing doesn't want to start or runs like a dog.  Here are a few simple tips to take the angst out of getting back on the water when the weather warms up.

Read more: Winterise Your Vessel

Alcohol Limits & Breath Testing On The Water

 

How many times have you heard someone say "My mate got done DUI on the weekend."? 

To be accurate, the term should actually be PCA an not DUI.  PCA stands for Prescribed Content of Alcohol and relates to an offence which normally involves being breath tested out in the field and then being subjected to a test on a Breath Anaysis (BAS) machine.  The BAS machine is highly accurate with a few redundancies built in so your reading is actually slightly lower than your actual blood alcohol level. 

I always say there is a time and place for everything.  When it comes to alcohol, that time and place is when you are finished up for the day and off the water.  

Read more: Alcohol Limits and Breath Testing On The Water

It Is Time To get Your Boat Ready For Summer.

Well Summer isn't too far away with Winter well and truly behind us.  It is time to dust off the boat and start getting your pride and joy ready for the boating season.

Read more: Getting Your Boat Ready For Summer.

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