ACT government enforces new rules to improve safety of lake users

Lachlan Roberts 23 February 2018 51
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.

What's Your Opinion?

Please login to post your comments, or connect with
51 Responses to ACT government enforces new rules to improve safety of lake users
kaitaz kaitaz 5:13 am 28 Jan 19

I agree with reasonable but not restrictive safety measures.

We must encourage our community to partake in many forms of physical & recreational activity, not restrict.

Has anyone thought about an easily accessible small vessel shed/locker system? I would happily pay monthly rent to store my kayak in an easily accessible place near lake G and know others who would too.

If increasing the restrictions, increase the incentives.

Spiral 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 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

Geir J Fokstuen 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 Morris Reinbear 4:58 pm 26 Feb 18

Finally, a chance to test my Tesla submarine!

John de Ridder 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 Duncan Mitchell 10:54 am 26 Feb 18

John de Ridder may need to get a few extras

Brett Richards 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 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 ( 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.

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 4:36 pm 01 Mar 18


    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 4:37 pm 01 Mar 18

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

    Craig Tregear 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Jason Naumann Jason Naumann 9:01 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?

Jacque Gutterson 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 Rod De Groot 8:54 pm 25 Feb 18

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

    Jason Naumann 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 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 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 Lomas Rick 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 Rod De Groot 9:27 am 26 Feb 18

    Here we go sit back and watch 😂😂😂

    Jason Naumann 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 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

    Ganesh Suppiah Ganesh Suppiah 5:32 pm 27 Jan 19

    I stick by my comments

Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 4:16 pm 25 Feb 18

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

    Jacque Gutterson Jacque Gutterson 6:46 pm 25 Feb 18

    My understanding that it does.

    Katrina Ann 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

    Leigh Brady Leigh Brady 8:01 am 01 Mar 18

    Jacque - our kayaks aren’t under 4.8m!

    Jacque Gutterson Jacque Gutterson 8:35 am 01 Mar 18

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

Daniel Robb 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 Janet Almond 2:51 pm 25 Feb 18

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

Clare Louise Clare Louise 2:20 pm 25 Feb 18

Does this include the new lake situated on Northbourne Ave?

Roberta Lynne Anning Roberta Lynne Anning 1:58 pm 25 Feb 18

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

Heather Bozza Heather Bozza 12:45 pm 25 Feb 18

Jr Bozza... end to go boat

Jay Apathy Jay Apathy 11:30 am 25 Feb 18

so if I gotta wear one on my 2.4m kayak what about the people on sup and dragon boaters etv

    Sarelle Woodward Sarelle Woodward 12:43 pm 25 Feb 18

    There are exemptions.

    Kirsty Sheppard Kirsty Sheppard 6:31 am 26 Feb 18

    Dragon Boayers wear them in winter & are also in a team environment so if the boat capsizes there is people to rescue. As a kayaker you are generally on your own.

    Jason Naumann Jason Naumann 1:42 pm 26 Feb 18

    What about the rowers, often single, by them selves

Simon Mitchell Simon Mitchell 11:20 am 25 Feb 18

Wouldn’t it be nice if the lakes act was up to date, and full information was available somewhere accessible?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Region Group Pty Ltd

Search across the site