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ACT government enforces new rules to improve safety of lake users

By Lachlan Roberts 25 February 2018 62
Lake Burley Griffin.

The new rules update and bring the legislation into line with neighbouring jurisdictions. Photo: Jack Mohr.

Legislation passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly on Thursday (22nd February) will make amendments to the Lakes ACT 1976 to make water-based activities safer and to encourage people to use Canberra’s picturesque lakes.

According to the Minister for Planning and Land Management, Mick Gentleman, the changes to the Act were made with the public’s’ safety in mind and the amendments will ensure that all boats are operated in a safe and responsible manner.

“These significant amendments to the Lakes Act 1976 will encourage greater safety for Canberrans using our beautiful lakes for recreation use at Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong, Molonglo Reach and Kingston Harbour,” Mr Gentleman said.

As part of the new rules in the legislation, all small boat users will have to wear life jackets as well as allowing electric powered boats to operate without a permit if they travel at less than 10 knots.

New drug and alcohol laws consistent with road transport legislation which will be enforceable by the ACT Water Police was also introduced.

“The new legislation will introduce fines of up to $7500 and/or up to one year in prison for individuals committing offences that pose a risk to public safety, such as the inappropriate use of drug and alcohol,” Mr Gentleman said.

The changes to the Act will not affect the activities currently permitted on ACT waterways, with the existing rules banning power boats and jet skis not affected by the changes.

The legislation will also introduce cross-jurisdictional arrangements for users of Lake Burley Griffin, Kingston Harbour and Molonglo Reach which currently crossover between the ACT Government and the National Capital Authority, who regulate Lake Burley Griffin.

Local lake users will no longer need to obtain approval from both the ACT and Commonwealth Governments, with users only needing one permit to enjoy all of Canberra’s lakes.

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57 Responses to
ACT government enforces new rules to improve safety of lake users
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Spiral 9:10 pm 02 Mar 18

Surely this is a bad idea. Lifejackets may save a few lives but if their cost and inconvenience discourage people from getting out and being active on our lakes then those few lives are not worth it, The benefit to the wider community of being more active overrides the loss of a few people.

Oops. Sorry.

I think I may have confused life jackets with bike helmets.

Mark Price 3:00 pm 27 Feb 18

I completely agree with Peter Buchanan. It's a risk when ever i go to a few places to wade out and cast my line yet I'm in areas that are 50m plus wide. Far more than enough room for rowers to avoid tucking tight to the banks and the risk of my line and rod being snapped. I don't want to ban the rowers but I'd like to see limitation buoys placed showing a clear safe direction for them

Peter Buchanan 2:57 pm 27 Feb 18

I vote to ban the rowers from going so close to the bank! One had the hide to tell me to move my fishing line! I said 'you move' like a child 👌 but it really annoys me.... Mark has the same problem

Geir J Fokstuen 6:40 pm 26 Feb 18

What about if I am floating as a star fish on top of my Esky ... Do I have to wear a life jacket? What if my electrical shaver has dropped into the water whilst on , and It's Vibration is unknown to me, powering me onwards beyond the 10 km limit will I need a permit? Or ... Will I be towed away in shackles? Concerned Lake floater!

Morris Reinbear 4:58 pm 26 Feb 18

Finally, a chance to test my Tesla submarine!

John de Ridder 11:38 am 26 Feb 18

Duncan Mitchell. It is always safety first. Life jacket are always worn prior to the legislation being passed on Feb 23. Glad there is now a fine attached to such inappropriate behavior.

Duncan Mitchell 10:54 am 26 Feb 18

John de Ridder may need to get a few extras

Brett Richards 10:03 pm 25 Feb 18

I haven’t seen the legislation, but as far as the life jacket requirement goes, I’d suggest it’s likely to do with bringing the regulations on LBG into alignment with the NSW RMS requirements for Googong and Burrinjuck, which are identified as ‘Alpine Waters’, and require a life jacket to be worn at all times on vessels <4.8m, including yaks and canoes.

    John Bosch 1:20 pm 01 Mar 18

    That was my assumption too.

    That would also answer Braids Brady and Kevin Hodder's earlier questions on boat sizes and Kayaks.

    Under the NSW legislation (http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/safety-rules/safety-equipment/lifejackets.html) boats under 4.8 metres, and Kayaks/Canoes, are treated as separate things (different rows on the table about half way down). The 4.8m does not apply to Kayaks/Canoes - all Kayaks/Canoes operators require life jackets on alpine waters, regardless of the size of the Kayak/Canoe.

    Braids Brady 4:36 pm 01 Mar 18

    Noooooo!!!!!!!!

    Braids Brady 4:37 pm 01 Mar 18

    Craig, Jacque... maybe it isn’t so good for us after all...

    Craig Tregear 4:40 pm 01 Mar 18

    Braids Brady at least we don’t need a boat license and permit to paddle.... yet...

    Jacque Gutterson 11:02 pm 01 Mar 18

    Sucky! It is far too hot in the summer to paddle with a vest on and if you can’t swim out of the lake you really should not be out there. Winter and alpine water is a completely different story. 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡s

Benja Fokstuen 10:01 pm 25 Feb 18

Geir J Fokstuen I know Sue and yourself are avid water fairing people with your hobie kayak - worth a read.

Jason Naumann 9:26 pm 25 Feb 18

That will put an end to the rowers training, why would they be exempt from the life jacket laws? Headline says no permit required if you’re electric and less than 10 knots but read the article and it says one permit for all Canberra’s lakes, WTF does that mean?

Jason Naumann 9:06 pm 25 Feb 18

While they’re making all these genius changes, they need to restrict rowers to the area that is set up for them, the rowing lanes are 90% of the time empty!

    Stuart Roesler 12:17 am 26 Feb 18

    The whole bloody lake is 90% empty. Need concepts that allow more water users not restrictions that will reduce the already limited amount of people using the lake

    Jason Naumann 1:57 pm 27 Feb 18

    Stuart Roesler good thinking actually Stuart, why wouldn’t they let petrol motors on the lake up to 10 knots of course. Image that. She’s be a busy lake then.

Jacque Gutterson 6:52 pm 25 Feb 18

I was almost hit by a speeding powered boat, which was accompanying rowers, in my kayak. The driver was looking backwards, watching the rowers. If I had been wearing a life jacket I would not have been able to dive under the water to escape injury. Not a fan of the nany state.

    Rod De Groot 8:54 pm 25 Feb 18

    I've had rowers come within cm of my tinnie to

    Jason Naumann 9:04 pm 25 Feb 18

    They’re a menace, they speed when they don’t have to, put them on a speed limit for F sake!

    Rod De Groot 9:20 pm 25 Feb 18

    Jason Naumann I've talked to the water police about them the day they nearly sunk me and they said I was in the right

    Dean Buckley 5:15 am 26 Feb 18

    I've had collisions with rowers three times over the years. Apparently if your traveling at speed backwards you have the right of way.

    And a stupid @#$# in the tinny got up me the last time.

    Someone will get seriously injured one day.

    Rick Harold Lomas 9:13 am 26 Feb 18

    The person standing on the bank with the rod isn't invisible though Jacque Gutterson.

    Rod De Groot 9:27 am 26 Feb 18

    Here we go sit back and watch 😂😂😂

    Jacque Gutterson 11:23 am 26 Feb 18

    You probably need to wear a bright colour life jacket too. 😎

    Jason Naumann 12:21 pm 26 Feb 18

    Rowers come within feet of the bank, I’ve seen them wipe out some guys fishing lines, then yell abuse at them for being there. They have zero rights above anyone else using the public lake.

    Rod De Groot 12:42 pm 26 Feb 18

    Jacque Gutterson they actually face backwards so they can't even see where they r going that's how they have nearly wiped me out a few times

    Jacque Gutterson 5:37 pm 26 Feb 18

    Yes I know Rod. It is easy to avoid them in a kayak but no so easy to avoid their support boats if they aren’t looking ahead. I am extremely weary of them now and head to the other side of the lake if I see them out.

Braids Brady 4:16 pm 25 Feb 18

What does “small boat” encompass? Does that include kayak’s, canoe’s, rowers & sups?

    Jacque Gutterson 6:46 pm 25 Feb 18

    My understanding that it does.

    Katrina Ann 5:55 am 01 Mar 18

    I called ACT Gvt. The requirement to wear a lifejacket at all times applies to all recreational boats under 4.8m (including kayaks) but does not apply to paddleboards, surfboards, sailboards or kiteboards. The requirement to wear a lifejacket also applies to all sailing boats of any length such as a hobie cat, laser, skiff, catamaran other than sailing boats with ballast, cabin or fixed keel or engine and also does not apply to sailing boats that are sailboards

    Braids Brady 8:01 am 01 Mar 18

    Jacque - our kayaks aren’t under 4.8m!

    Jacque Gutterson 8:35 am 01 Mar 18

    Braids Brady 😂 🥂Lets just keep that under our hat shall we.

Libby Oakes-Ash 3:22 pm 25 Feb 18

And if you want to make it safer please please ask the powered boats accompanying rowers in the early morning to also be speed limited!!

Libby Oakes-Ash 3:21 pm 25 Feb 18

So confusing much?? What is the description of a “ small boat”. Does that include rowers, dragon boaters, kayakers, Stand Up Paddle Boarders? As usual ACT legislation is not specific. Does it mean all Go Boat users have to now wear life jackets not just children? Is the lovely Cygnet considered a small boat? Does this new legislation allow anyone to purchase and use an electric powered boat and use on LBG. More detail would be awesome! Am I going to be fined if don’t wear a life jacket when on my SUP or kayak, can I be breath tested now while paddling 😂😂. At least the water police will now have some work to do 😄😄

    Jason Naumann 1:45 pm 26 Feb 18

    Apart from testing the jet skis at Mach 2 Libby 😂😂.

    Katrina Ann 5:54 am 01 Mar 18

    I called ACT Gvt. The requirement to wear a lifejacket at all times applies to all recreational boats under 4.8m (including kayaks) but does not apply to paddleboards, surfboards, sailboards or kiteboards. The requirement to wear a lifejacket also applies to all sailing boats of any length such as a hobie cat, laser, skiff, catamaran other than sailing boats with ballast, cabin or fixed keel or engine and also does not apply to sailing boats that are sailboards

    Libby Oakes-Ash 6:03 am 01 Mar 18

    Katrina Ann thanks so much I will spread that info on our kayak page at Kingston 😄😄

Daniel Robb 3:00 pm 25 Feb 18

Trent Kelly Jason Robb no permits for electrics on lbg if you travel less than 10kmh giddy up

Janet Almond 2:51 pm 25 Feb 18

Thanks for info. There are lots of unclear patches in regulations for Lake BG.

Clare Vidler 2:20 pm 25 Feb 18

Does this include the new lake situated on Northbourne Ave?

Roberta Manley 1:58 pm 25 Feb 18

Janet Almond I'm sure Richard already knows about this. I thought I would share anyway.

Seon Ferguson 1:42 pm 25 Feb 18

You mean how to get more revenue

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