Recreational Boating Safety Reforms Announced: Queensland

Marine safety will be boosted under a raft of new reforms to Queensland's recreational boating laws, Marine Infrastructure Minister Craig Wallace announced today Wednesday 27 July.

"One of the major focuses of these reforms is the enhanced night and electronic navigation training for all new licence holders," he said.

"Under the new rules instructors providing licence courses for boaties through our BoatSafe program will offer additional training covering all aspects of safe navigation," Mr Wallace said.

Mr Wallace said good navigation skills are always important but even more so for skippers of larger boats.

"We will also be introducing a new boating licence class to encourage a high standard of safety in larger recreational craft," he said.

"We've found that the larger boats, 12 metres and longer, are over-represented in serious marine incidents.

"The new licences will not affect current recreational marine driver and commercial master licence holders or the size of vessel they can operate, either now or in the future," Mr Wallace said.

The safety reforms will come into effect from January 2012 with the exception of the enhanced licence for vessel over 12m in length which will take effect from January 2013.

Mr Wallace said the new boating safety laws are in response to the Improving Recreational Boating Safety Discussion Paper, and the findings of a number of coronial inquests.

"We're encouraging operators of smaller recreational craft to improve their safety skills as well.

"And we strongly urge all boaties to remember to wear lifejackets in busy waterways or during bad weather and always when boating alone or at night."

Mr Wallace said the wide ranging reform followed on from new laws introduced to the jet ski hire industry for the protection of tourists and holiday makers.

"In addition under the new regulations jet skis travelling faster than ten knots have to stay at least 30 metres away from other moving vessels.

"Learners under supervision on jet skis won't be allowed to carry passengers and the kill-switch lanyard will need to be secured to the supervising passenger who already holds a PWC licence.," he said.

Fast Facts:

  • Enhanced night and electronic navigation training in existing BoatSafe course
  • Extending the number of coastal bars where personal floatation devices must be worn.
  • Additional safety equipment requirements for personal watercraft operating offshore
  • Higher standards for new large recreational boat operators

Full details are available on MSQ's website at