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Small craft users can now use smaller emergency beacons

12 Sep 2017

A long popular safety accessory for bushwalkers and outback travellers, personal locator beacons are now hitting the waves on jet-ski riders, kayakers and small boat sailors.

Member for Sandgate, Stirling Hinchliffe, said advances in search and rescue technology meant operators of smaller craft could now use personal locator beacons without compromising their safety.

“The Palaszczuk Government has taken a common sense approach to legislation, and will now allow these beacons as acceptable safety equipment on lightweight craft such as personal watercraft, more commonly called jet-skis, canoes, kayaks and sailboats under six metres,” he said.

“Current regulations require Queensland regulated ships to carry an Emergency Position Indicating Rescue Beacon (EPIRB) when operating outside of the declared smooth or partially smooth waters or other waters more than two nautical miles from land.

“We have determined it is now possible for personal watercraft (PWC) and other lightweight craft users to wear personal locator beacons,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

Mark Mustchin from the Sandgate Canoe Club said that these reforms will enhance risk management practice, creating a safer environment for lightweight craft users not only at the Canoe Club but across Moreton Bay more broadly.

Currently the Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulation 2016 requirement to carry an EPIRB, does not allow for the substitution of the EPIRB with a personal locator beacon in any situation where an EPIRB is required.

The Palaszczuk Government, through Maritime Safety Queensland, will now issue an exemption from the current legislation requirements allowing the wearing of a personal locator beacon by users of PWC and other lightweight craft where, up to now, the standard EPIRB was required.