Boating blitz on Brisbane Water

Boating Safety Officers were out on the Brisbane Water in force on January 10, as NSW Maritime conducted its first state-wide compliance operation of the year.

With a focus on new boat owners and skippers, the operation saw 167 inspections conducted on Brisbane Water, from Gosford to as far south as Middle Head, with 15 penalty notices and 18 official cautions issued and a compliance rate of just over 80 per cent.

A spokesperson for NSW Maritime said while ensuring compliance among boaters was the main aim, the focus was also on educating the myriad of new boat owners/skippers being seen on our waterways.

“There has been a significant rise in boat licences, PWC (jet skis) and boat registrations this year due to COVID,” the spokesperson said.

“Our Boating Safety Officers, who are out on waterways across NSW every day, report regularly on new skippers needing assistance with regard to rules, and on-board equipment.

“Anecdotally, we’re seeing new boaters without the proper equipment, unaware of the effect wash has on other boaters/kayakers etc, speed zones and rules of towing donuts or kneeboards.”

NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said the increasing popularity of boating meant Transport for NSW’s Boating Safety Officers had even more reason to ensure water safety is top of mind during the traditionally busy summer boating months.

At the end of November, there were 682 additional holders of general boating licences across the state, with an additional 1282 boats registered in NSW compared to the same time in 2019.

“Starting in March 2020 and continuing right through winter and into spring, statistics show an uptick in both boat licences and registrations, which likely relates to COVID-19 causing an increase in interest in boating as one of the remaining leisure options,” Hutchings said.

He said in NSW, there are no restrictions which currently apply to recreational boating when those onboard are members of the same household.

“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, and always remember to practise good personal hygiene,” he said.

He said it was important new boaties focused on following the NSW boating rules and any local waterway restrictions, such as speed limits.

For more information on safe boating, visit

Media release, Jan 12
Transport for NSW