Easing restrictions

Queensland and Western Australia to loosen the COVID-19 restrictions on recreational boating following encouraging signs of containment.

28 April 2020


Queensland and Western Australian yachties will have more flexibility to head out on the water from this Friday.

In a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from 11.59pm Friday, Queenslanders will be able to leave their homes for recreation and the distance they can travel has been extended.

Social distancing will still apply with outings “limited to members of the same household or an individual and one friend.”

For sailors it means there will be absolutely no problem in heading down to their local sailing Club and taking the boat out on their favourite stretch of water.

Shawn Ket is General Manager of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, the state’s biggest yacht club with 4,200 members and 600 boats on the water and several hundred more on the hardstand. He’s confident RQYS members will responsibly embrace the extra freedoms provided by the new arrangements.


“The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron welcomes the initiative by the Queensland Government to allow limited recreational boating for immediate family members under strict conditions.

“Our members are kept progressively informed about the changing circumstances and have exhibited a willing compliance with the previous restrictions around limited fishing and sailing for exercise, and will now enjoy a little less restriction in their recreational boating under the updated eased restrictions,” he confirms.

Many sailors are also eager to see when the Federal Government will ease the restrictions around community sport, which would allow regular sailing series to restart.

RQYS is one of a number of Clubs that are in discussions with authorities. Limited competitions could be possible – for instance, events for Finns and Lasers could be run with social distancing requirements.

“We are still talking with Government and Industry Associations about our view on the reasonableness and advantages of easing restrictions in some limited areas of Community Sport Sailing,” Ket says.

“We feel that local Club sailing competition on single handed sailing vessels and dual crewed vessels for immediate family members makes sense. We can and would, of course, have the capacity to comply with on land restrictions associated with such a limited easing on our Community Sport of sailing,” he adds.

Previously, sailing in Queensland was allowed, but only with strict provisions as it came under exercise on the list of essential reasons for not being at home. Water Police have been keeping a close eye on boats, and how many crew are aboard.

Western Australia has also relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions stating from Monday 27 April: “non-contact recreational activities such as private picnics in the park, fishing, boating, hiking and camping – all in compliance with travel restrictions and the 10-person rule” were permissible.

Some post-sailing socialising is now possible too, with 10 people allowed to attend indoor and outdoor non-work gatherings.

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,” he says.

NSW is expected to ease gathering restrictions this week too. A maximum of two adults and their children will be permitted to visit others in their homes.

“We know that for many people, they’ve been cooped up in their homes for a number of weeks, and with the exception of exercising, medical needs or buying what they need or going to work, many people have been isolated in their homes,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.





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