Fishing, Boating & Other Water Activities

  • April 8, 2020

From 31 March 2020 NSW Government Public health directions have been updated requiring people to stay at home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. However, as there is on land, there are exceptions that apply on water.

If you go out social distancing rules always apply – at the boat ramp and on your boat. You should only be on your boat alone, or with no more than one other person; or with family who ordinarily live in the same household as you.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ to use your boat could be to:
1. exercise (e.g. kayaking/sailing/paddling etc);
2. fish;
3. get to and from work, where the work cannot reasonably be performed from home;
4. get groceries; and
5. provide assistance, care or support to an immediate member of the person’s family.

Unless you have an essential need to be out – the advice is, stay ashore and stay home.

Below are a few general questions and answers with regard to the current social distancing restrictions when it comes to fishing, boating and other on-water activities. For more information, please visit NSW Government website (http://nsw.gov.au).

Can I go fishing from land?

Fishing from a wharf, rock or land is allowed with no more than one other person (unless they are members of your own household). Remember to maintain social distancing best practices, keeping at least 1.5m from other people at all times. Please also be mindful that the area in which you choose to fish from (ie. a wharf or beach) falls under the guidelines for outdoor-gatherings and must allow for 4sqm of space for each person, up to a maximum of 500 persons. If such wharf or area gets too crowded, it will be forced to close.

Can I go fishing on my boat?

Yes, you are permitted to go fishing on your boat provided you are actually fishing and not just cruising or socialising on the water. You should only be on your boat alone, or with no more than one other person; or with family who ordinarily live in the same household as you.

If you are fishing with more than one person, the vessel owner must ensure the boat is big enough to allow 4sqm of space for every person on the boat. Please be advised that if you are not genuinely fishing as a form of exercise, you will risk a hefty fine from NSW water police.

Can I go sailing on my boat?

Yes, you are permitted to go sailing on your boat provided you are actually sailing and comply with the 4sqm rule. It is the responsibility of the vessel owner/operator to ensure the 4sqm rule is adhered to for every person on the boat. Please be advised that if you are not genuinely sailing as a form of exercise, you will risk a hefty fine from NSW water police.

Can I go cruising and socialising on a boat with friends?

No. Cruising, drink, socialising or any other recreational activity other than fishing is not allowed. The use of your boat or vessel can only be used for the following reasons:

  • For exercise (such as fishing)
  • Using your boat or vessel as a means of transport to get essential items or supplies
  • Using your boat or vessel to attend an appointment or attending to carer’s responsibilities

If your reason is outside of the above and police deem it not be for a reasonable excuse, you will risk a hefty fine from NSW water police.

Can I take my tinny out for a cruise?

No, cruising either by yourself or with a mate is not a reasonable excuse under the “stay at home rule”. You may only use your boat or vessel for the reasons listed above.

Can I go out on my jet-ski?

Yes, use of a jet-ski is permitted as a mode of transport but with no more than one other person.

Can I go kayaking or paddle boarding?

Yes, use of a kayak or paddle board is permitted as a type of exercise but with no more than two people on a single item.