Following pressure from tourism operators, the BIA and other concerned organisations, the Queensland government has announced that boating is effectively "back to normal" after some bizarre and illogical COVID-19 regulations have been revoked.
Maritime Safety Queensland issued the following statement on Sunday, May 31 2020:
From noon on Monday 01 June 2020, recreational water-based travel within Queensland will be permitted without restrictions. This includes the ability to travel overnight and with no travel distance limitation.
Previously advised international and interstate border restrictions remain in place
A Marine Information Bulletin detailing these changes has been published here.
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.
Important to note
Be aware all agencies and rescue groups are following the Chief Health Officer directions within their 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 Maritime Safety Queensland continue to provide a marine distress emergency radio watch on marine VHF channels 16 and 67.
Queenslanders are allowed to hire a sailboat for bareboating recreational purposes. Social distancing measures and good hygiene practices must be observed.
Queensland Health have advised that under the current health directions effective 12pm on 1 June, ‘tourism experiences’ such as dive boats, fishing charters and other boat operators who take individual or tour groups, can commence operations with up to 20 people. Queensland Health have listed conditions that include one person per four square metres and wherever possible maintain 1.5 metre social distancing. These and other restrictions and conditions that may apply to your specific charter operation, can be found in the latest current health directions and latest advice found here.
Maritime Safety Queensland will continue to work closely with Queensland Health throughout each step of the Roadmap to Easing COVID-19 Restrictions. MSQ will continue to seek clarification on how changes to public health directions apply to charter boat operations, and we will communicate Queensland Health’s position to industry.
Remember, the rules are continuously changing so refer to your State or Territory authority for updates before you take the boat out.