Queensland’s Chief Health Officer advised that from Saturday, 02 May 2020 boaties could engage in water-based recreational activities within 50km of their home.
The response was immediate with a number of boats anchored at popular spots around Moreton Bay and an increase in the number of tinnies and jet skis out on the water.
In contrast to some of the land-based behaviour, where people ignored social distancing rules at Gold Coast parks and police were called to parties, leading to threats that the stricter rules would be re-applied, the 20 or so boats anchored at Slippin' Sands in Canaipa Passage maintained a good distance from each other.
The advice from Maritime Safety Queensland was very clear:
Social distancing rules always apply – special attention must be paid at congestion areas like boat ramps and refuelling points. Additionally, there is also the unnecessary contact risks you may create if you need assistance when out of the water – hence, for those venturing out prepare well before leaving home.
Boats should only contain family who ordinarily live in the same household, or skipper and one other person.
Please be aware all agencies and rescue groups are following the Chief Health Officer directions within their own work areas. All emergencies will be dealt with as a matter of priority, but less urgent incidents may potentially take longer to respond to. Volunteer marine rescue organisations and MSQ continue to provide a marine distress emergency radio watch on marine VHF channels 16 and 67.
Skippers are advised to notify a family member or close friend of their trip, including the route they intend to take, their destination and an estimated time of return; with instructions to call 000 if they do not return within a given period.
Skippers are reminded that a number of entities may have specific restrictions in place for their local areas with information available on their respective websites. Some examples are
Recreational areas such as dams, lakes and weirs
Closure of camping areas within Queensland National Parks, state forests and recreational areas
Access to some remote and indigenous communities including islands
Local Government operated marine facilities.
SEQWater, Sunwater and Gladstone Area Water Board will re-open their managed waterways to the public for use from Saturday, 02 May 2020.
Skippers are always responsible for the safety of their vessel and the people on board. This includes trip planning, vessel fully serviceable, having the appropriate safety equipment, keeping a proper look out and proceeding at a safe speed.