Water Ways Update 'Covid-19' - RMS
The NSW Minister for Health signed an Exemption to the Public Health Order (COVID-19) Restrictions on Gathering and Movement Order (No 2) 2020. This Exemption allows members of the same household to use their recreational vessel for all on-water activities even if the vessel does not allow for 4 square metres of space per person. In addition, this Exemption allows people (who are not part of the same household) to go recreational boating on NSW waterways where it is the skipper’s responsibility to ensure that, so far as reasonably practicable, each person on board maintains a physical distance of 1.5 meters.
In line with the NSW Government’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions this means that the previous rule where it was permissible only to use boats for exercise and individuals were required to maintain 4 square metres of space is no longer in place. Transport for NSW worked to ensure this Exemption to the Public Health Order was fast-tracked so that families could participate in boating for leisure and remove concerns about contravening the health orders. These previous restrictions, which came into effect as part of the Public Health Orders, meant some boat owners were at a disadvantage if they had a smaller boat. Commercial and charter vessels may continue to be operated under existing restrictions, as long as physical distancing is being followed by all on board. Transport for NSW advises that when passengers are onshore, it is important to not gather in public spaces such as boat ramps and wharves in groups of more than 10 people, unless they are members of the same household. Skippers must also remember their normal safety responsibilities apply, regarding safety equipment, alcohol consumption, keeping a proper lookout and proceeding at a safe speed. For the latest information on the Coronavirus outbreak and current restrictions, members of the community are encouraged to check the NSW Government website for regular updates.