Minister for Ports and Waterways Joe Tripodi said changes to the Marine Safety Act will see new laws come into force on August 1, the official opening of the Sydney International Boat Show.
“These new laws will see the culture of safe boating in NSW strengthened,” Mr Tripodi said.
“It’s important that our safety messages get out to as many people as possible and what better way than at the Sydney International Boat Show.
“Safety on our waterways is of paramount importance and these new boating laws will help us keep pace with increased boating activity across NSW.”
Mr Tripodi said the Iemma Government has increased funding for boating education to $3 million over 3 years starting in 2009.
“We are developing a communication plan with extensive education campaigns to get the message across,” Mr Tripodi said.
“These new laws will help reduce levels of irresponsible and anti-social behaviour which can be just as dangerous on our waterways as on our roads.
“With visitors from across NSW, Australia and the world at the Boat Show, I think it is important that we highlight our safety laws and ensure anyone who intends on going out onto the water knows the laws.”
The marine safety laws have introduced new penalties, including jail terms of up to 2 years and fines up to $110,000, for dangerous navigation offences.
Increased penalties will also apply to operating an overloaded or unsafe vessel, creating excessive wash or endangering public safety.
Other safety amendments include new powers for NSW Maritime and Water Police to enforce the law and direct boaters to act safely.
Mr Tripodi said NSW Maritime would be supporting the new laws with a renewed emphasis on compliance and education.
The Sydney International Boat Show will be officially launched at an industry breakfast at Sydney Convention Centre Darling Harbour today.
The show regularly attracts more than 80,000 visitors with more than 10,000 from interstate and international locations.
There will be more than 300 exhibitors in six halls plus 300 vessels in the Cockle Bay Wharf Marina – some never seen in NSW before.
“Everyone with any interest in boating should get along to the show and see what this spectacular event is all about,” Mr Tripodi said.
“NSW Maritime is coordinating a ‘Marine Precinct’ stand where the public can visit a range of government and non-government maritime-related agencies in the one location.
“Some of those joining NSW Maritime are Fisheries, Lands, Water Police, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Australian Hydrographic Office and key volunteer marine rescue groups.”