Find out about tow-in surfing rules and safety equipment.
Tow-in surfing is when a personal watercraft (PWC) tows a person on a surfboard onto a breaking wave.
To take part in tow-in surfing you must follow the rules and carry the required safety equipment listed below.
Tow-in surfing rules
Tow-in surfing is not permitted in protected waters, any gazetted water ski area, PWC restricted or prohibited areas.
Tow-in surfing is only permitted between the hours of sunrise and sunset.
The PWC operator must:
- be at least 17 years old.
- only tow 1 person at a time.
- wear a kill switch lanyard on the wrist or attached to their lifejacket.
- carry the required safety equipment.
- give right of way to all other aquatic activities such as swimmers and paddle craft.
When tow-in surfing, you must:
- keep a minimum distance of 50 metres from any other tow-in surfing activity and 200 metres distance from all other aquatic activities.
- Not impede on the safe passage or navigation of any craft.
Both the PWC operator and the person being towed must each hold a Recreational Skipper’s Ticket.
Safety equipment requirements
Each personal watercraft (PWC) participating in a tow-in surfing activity in any area is to be equipped at all times with:
- All safety equipment as required under the Navigable Waters Regulation 1958.
- A rescue sled with the minimum size of 90 cm width, 1.2 metres length and 7 cm thickness equipped with a minimum of 5 grip handles. The use of the sled is not to exceed the load capacity recommended by the manufacturer.
- A kill switch lanyard, which is wrapped around the handlebars of the PWC.
- A marine band radio which has an effective range of coverage for the operation.
- An effective quick release floating tow rope.
- An effective bow tow line.
- A suitable first aid kit.
- Suitable dive fins, mask and a safety knife each in a readily accessible location.
Before you go out
Before you leave home:
- Check the latest weather update and tide information.
- Check all your safety equipment is in date and in working order.
- Check your PWC is safe and in working order and has sufficient fuel.
- Check the rules that apply to the waterway.
- Agree on the course you will follow.
- Decide what to do if separated.
- Discuss what to do in an emergency.
- Tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return.
Download the Deckee app for safety, weather and location-based information to help you stay safe on the water.
There is an exemption in place that allows tow-in surfing to be conducted in an appropriate environment and manner, as long as the conditions of the exemption are adhered to.
These conditions include following the tow-in surfing rules and safety equipment requirements listed above.
Under the exemption, PWC are exempt from the following regulations of the Navigable Waters Regulation 1958 while being used for tow-in surfing:
- Regulation 48A(2): Towing of water skiers must only occur in gazetted water-skiing areas (note that water skiing includes towing surfers).
- Regulation 49: The driver of a speed boat towing water skiers (which include towed surfers) must be accompanied by another person to keep watch over the skier.
|Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII): Navigable Waters Regulation 1958|