Owning and operating a boat comes with a range of statutory obligations and responsibilities. Boat operators need to have the appropriate boating licence and should have the skills and capabilities to operate in the waters of their preferred activities as basic starters. There are also responsibilities around safety including carrying the correct life jackets and following the rules of the waterway according to both national and state legislation.
But there are some responsibilities of boat ownership that may not be as well-known and one, in particular, is in regard to garbage management. The Australian Marine Safety Authority posted a reminder on 4 June 2021 for boat owners to understand their responsibilities in regard to the management of their onboard garbage. With a global focus on caring for the marine environment and the continual and ongoing risks and threat to marine life especially from single-use plastic, boat owners should be aware of their legal and moral responsibilities.
Australia has one of the largest marine territories in the world, 8.2 million square kilometres actually, and it is the responsibility of all users to avoid polluting the ocean. While using a boat for recreational purposes, users will of course generate a certain amount of garbage. It’s important that that waste does not end up overboard.
Maritime Legislation re Garbage Management
Under Australian maritime legislation, vessels of 100 gross tonnages and over or certified to carry 15+ people as well as floating and fixed platforms, are required to have a Garbage Management Plan. Depending on size and classification, some vessels are required to also maintain a garbage record book and display certain placards.
A Garbage Management Plan includes written procedures for the collection, minimising, storage and then proper disposal of the garbage accumulated on the boat. AMSA encourages boat owners to consider ways that they can reduce their waste before developing their own written plan.
While the legislation may not cover your recreational boat, the practices and procedures outlined are worth considering and following by all boat owners and waterway users.
What you can do
AMSA states that it has been predicted, that if no change is implemented, the plastic in the world’s oceans will, by 2050, actually outweigh fish. That should be a startling enough statistic for all boat owners to pay attention to garbage, whether their boat is subject to mandatory legislation or not.
They provide a number of ideas for how boat owners and operators can minimise the amount of garbage which accumulates on their vessel. This may include reducing single-use items and plastics and instead, using reusable containers, utensils and packaging. They also advise boat owners to consider the location of disposal facilities onshore.
If your boat is subject to a mandatory Garbage Management Plan, AMSA provides guidelines for its preparation:
- Designate a person in charge of implementing the plan.
- Set procedures for collection, processing (if available onboard), storage and finally disposal when arriving back at the marina, wharf, ramp or another shore base.
For recreational boat owners wanting to do their bit, remind your guests of your policy for garbage minimisation on your boat. Many guests will arrive for a day on someone else’s boat with food and beverage. Ensuring these are in reusable containers is one simple way to make a difference.
All boat owners and operators must adhere to the rulings for their state or territory and the area they are boating in. There are strict rulings especially in regard to life jackets. Different jackets are required depending on the waterways. Ensure you refer to your state regulations and have sufficient jackets for all persons including special jackets for any children and pets.
Acquiring Safety and Other Equipment
The time of buying your boat is ideal for getting all the safety equipment you require. Many boat dealers are also stockists of life jackets, electronics, beacons and other gear. Don’t overlook communications equipment. A high-quality VHF radio can be an essential kit if you require emergency assistance while at sea. If you include all those requirements in conjunction with the boat, your Jade Boat Loans consultant should be able to include marine equipment in your overall boat loan.
In order for equipment and upgrades and accessories to be included in a boat loan, they must be purchased at the same time and preferably with the same seller invoice, though that may not be essential.
To find out what including the necessary safety equipment in your boat loan may cost, simply use our online boat loan repayment calculator. All you have to do is vary the total loan amount while leaving the loan term and the interest rate the same. Note the difference in the repayment estimates when you add the extras. The current low-interest-rate situation can make the inclusion of extras in your boat loan a very attractive and affordable option.
Boating is an amazing lifestyle and recreational activity and taking note of all responsibilities can enhance the experience now and for future boaters.
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DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION AND SPECIFIC DETAILS CONTAINED IN THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN PREPARED AND ARE PRESENTED PURELY AS GENERAL INFORMATION AND NOT INTENDED AS THE ONLY SOURCE OF FINANCIAL ADVICE FOR BOAT BUYERS AND LOAN BORROWERS. FOR THOSE THAT CONSIDER THEY REQUIRE SPECIFIC ADVICE, THEY SHOULD CONSULT WITH A FINANCIAL ADVISOR. LIABILITY IS NOT ACCEPTED IN REGARD TO ERRORS AND MISPRESENTED DATA AND DETAILS HEREIN.