New safety duty for persons who manage boating activity events

New safety duty for persons who manage boating activity events


As you may be aware, legislation passed by Parliament in November 2017 introduced a new safety duty for persons who are responsible for managing boating activity events (event managers) under Section 25A of the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic).

The purpose of the amendment was to improve the safety of people involved in or affected by boating events, by ensuring event managers adequately identify and address risks to public safety. The new safety duty comes into effect on 30 June 2018.

The duty applies to employers and self-employed persons (within the meaning of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)) who organise, facilitate or control a boating activity event.

A boating activity event is any event which involves vessels on the water, either directly or indirectly. For example, a boat race, a water ski event, a school kayak excursion, or an open water swimming race that has support vessels. These all comprise types of boating activity events.

The duty applies to all boating activity events; not just those which require a boating activity exemption.

The duty does not apply to a pyrotechnic display or show. Nor does it apply to groups of people cruising together in vessels in an informal manner.

The duty requires event managers to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the following:

  • The safety of participants in the event, as well as the safety of spectators and bystanders;
  • Providing participants with information to enable them to participate safely;
  • Complying with accepted safety standards (or manuals) that are specific to the type of boating activity event being undertaken;
  • That rescue and first aid capabilities or services are available to participants in boating activity events.

Maritime Safety Victoria is developing Code of Practice to assist boating activity event managers to understand and comply with the new safety duty. Further information is to follow.

If you have any questions, please email

Click here to read Section 25A in the Ports and Marine Legislation Amendment Act 2017