Position Statement

New Safety Duty for Managers of Boating Activity Events

Updated: 20 June 2018



The Ports and Marine Legislation Amendment Act 2017 creates a new safety duty in the Marine Safety Act 2010 – with a very broad definition and a huge penalty (including a criminal conviction).

boating activity event“—

(a) means an event on State waters that directly or indirectly involves vessel operations; and.

(b) does not include—

(i)  a pyrotechnic display or show on State waters; or

(ii) groups of people cruising together in vessels on State waters in an informal manner;


Boat race, open water swimming race, water sports competition or exhibition, filming or promotional event, school kayak excursion            


Effect of the duty on managers of boating activity events:

  • Section 8 of the Ports and Marine Legislation Amendment Act 2017 inserts a new section “25A” in the Marine Safety Act 2010

  • The new section imposes a duty on a “person” who manages a boating activity event to, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the safety of participants in the boating activity event or persons affected by the boating activity event

  • The new safety duty is to give Transport Safety Victoria the regulatory responsibility and authority (to assist Worksafe Victoria) to ensure that risk management obligations are being adhered to when boating activity events are being organised and conducted.

  • TSV proposes to work with known event organiser/manager groups to codify best practice and issue guidance, for example the development of a code of practice for different activity areas e.g. fishing, sailing, outdoor education activities involving human powered vessels, etc.

BIAV Position and Actions:

  • BIAV is seeking further clarification with regard to the definition of a ‘boating activity event’ and, in particular, if this extends to ‘on water’ boat demonstrations and/or come and try activities.

  • Whilst having worked extensively to have this amendment stopped, BIAV accepts that it has passed parliament and we are therefore working with TSV and pushing for the development and circulation of the required Codes of Practice. When available, these will be shared with all BIAV members and briefings offered.

06/08/2018 UPDATE

  • BIAV recently met with Transport for Victoria and Sailing Australia to discuss ongoing concerns regarding the legislation impacting negatively on club volunteers who are assisting in the management of ‘boating activity events’.

  • BIAV was assured that the Marine Safety Act 2010 will be amended as soon as possible to remove the unintended consequences for club volunteers and trainees.

  • BIAV welcomes the proposed changes