The Boating Industry Association (BIA) today welcomed moves by Queensland and Western Australia to loosen the COVID-19 restrictions on recreational boating following encouraging signs of containment.
Darren Vaux, BIA President, said yesterday’s announcements by the two States were good news for the boating public, businesses and jobs while maintaining a conservative approach to the protection of public health and safety.
“Recreational boating out in the fresh air and sunshine is good for mental and physical health and is a low-risk activity that a family can easily do whilst adhering to social distancing and hygiene rules.
“Governments recognise that getting out on the water is a way of life for many Australians and it is estimated more than 20 per cent of all Australians engage in some form of boating activity annually.
“It was good to see Queensland enable households to travel 50km from home for recreational boating, especially as 85 per cent of the population live within 50km of the coast. This adds to the existing permitted uses of fishing, paddle and sail craft in that State for exercise.
“In WA, the State Government has also said, based on health advice, they can cautiously relax the number for indoor and outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people, while practising social distancing.
“Reactivating a low-risk activity like boating will start to repair the boating industry which is closely aligned to tourism and is hurting with staff layoffs and business closures as a result of COVID-19.”
In 2018-19 the industry had a turnover of $8.65 billion, directly employed more than 28,000 people with more than 14,500 contractors. Seventy-five per cent are in small businesses, employing local workers and supporting local communities distributed around the Australian coastline.
“Whilst the return to recreational boating is welcomed it is important for all boaters to make sure they practice social distancing and good hygiene at all times particularly at the boat ramp or marina and when you come in contact with shared surfaces,” Vaux said. “Wash your hands frequently and only go boating with your family or household. When you are out on the water don’t raft up or land on beaches where there are already other people. The message is clear, practice responsible boating to keep boating.”
Remember, ‘You’re the Skipper – You’re Responsible’ so practice safe boating always which includes:
• Ensure the weather and sea conditions are suitable
• Ensure your boat and equipment are suitable and your safety gear is complete and in-date
• Tell someone where you are going and your estimated time of return
• Wear a lifejacket, especially for children, those 60+ or if going out alone.
The BIA will continue to support governments in disease control measures and that includes the need for exemplary workplace hygiene measures that are an important part of the recovery.
Vaux said the BIA was actively encouraging other States and Territories to join in the measured lifting of restrictions on recreational boating. More information at: www.bia.org.au