Tinnie Etiquette & Law

It is important that any visiting club, school or coaches know what is required when rowing in the ACT.  Where a local Club is hosting another Club or crew, it is incumbent on that Club to brief visitors.   While the news items setting out activities on the Lake should be read, all visiting Clubs and rowers should also be aware of the Tinnie Guidelines; Rowing Flows; Reverse flows on Yarramundi Reach during events; and the guidance issued by the ACT Water Police.

For the comfort and safety of rowers, tinnie drivers are asked to follow the guidelines below.

i. Cut wash when passing unpowered craft travelling in the opposite direction. This is to be done in advance of passing unpowered craft to ensure wash created does not roll onto the unpowered craft;

ii. When a moving tinnie is being approached from behind by a faster unpowered craft, cut wash to allow the faster unpowered craft to pass;

iii. Where possible minimise tinnie wash in East and Central Basin as the hard walls allow wash to impact crews for some time;

iv. Minimise tinnie wash on Yarramundi Reach when travelling South towards the start line;

v. While keeping pace with crews being coached/timed travelling North on Yarramundi Reach towards the finish line, drivers are asked to make a reasonable effort to minimise the impact of wash on unpowered craft using the course.

vi. When safe to do so, it is recommended that tinnie drivers proceeding from finish to start on the rowing course do so close to the centre of the course. This allows drivers to cut power and minimise wash accurately.

vii. Precautions need to be taken to avoid passing unpowered craft within close proximity.

Member Clubs are also asked to:

i. ensure their tinnie operators are suitably licensed, trained and skilled to operate tinnies; and

ii. refrain from the use of loudhailers before 8 am close to residential areas including the Governor General’s residence.


Water Police Reminder – Summary of Requirements

The ACT Water Police has provided the following guidance including statutory requirements.

1 – Licence Requirements

All drivers of a conventional powerboat must hold either a current powerboat drivers licence issued in any Australian State or Territory or a ‘TL3’ certificate issued under the Australian Yachting Federation National Powerboat Training Scheme.

This refers to all powerboat drivers (irrespective of the speed at which the vessel is operated, or the power output of the engine etc as in other jurisdictions).

Boat licences must be carried and produced on request.

2.  Vessel Permits

All powerboats must have a permit. The type of permit, and permissible use, depends on the type of vessel and purpose.

The permit sticker must be displayed on the vessel. If you need a permit, contact NCA on 62712888 or Water Police on 62457393.

Operating a vessel without a permit, or unauthorised or inappropriate use of a permit vessel carries a maximum fine of $1000 for the individual operator and for each passenger, and $5000 for the organisation. (Section 27 Lakes Ordinance 1976)

  1. Collision Avoidance & Safe Operation

All persons are at all times responsible for maintaining a good lookout and ensuring collision avoidance. All vessel operators should have a sound working knowledge of rules of right of way, crossing and overtaking etc. All vessel operators must at all times navigate in a safe and courteous manner to other lake users.

Offences under the Lakes Ordinance sections 48 & 49 include Careless Navigation (max fine $500 individual, $2,500 organisation) and Navigating a Vessel in a Negligent/Reckless/Speed or Manner Dangerous (max penalty $1000 and/or 6 months imprisonment individual, $5000 organisation)

  1. Safety equipment

All powerboats must carry the prescribed minimum safety equipment (paddles, bailing bucket, anchor/rope/chain, torch, sufficient PFD’s and extinguisher. It is the responsibility of the driver to ensure that the equipment is both present and in a serviceable condition.

Safety boats must carry sufficient approved PFD’s for the crew on board the safety boat. For rowing coaches, best practice suggests a safety boat should carry additional flotation to assist occupants of the coached vessel as well.

  1. Navigation whilst intoxicated

A person must not navigate a vessel whilst under the influence of intoxicating liquor. Maximum fine $500. Section 50

Lakes Ordinance 1976.

  1. Lights

Requirements relating to vessel lighting are contained within Part 5, Division 1 Section 37-40 Lakes Ordinance 1976. In summary, during the hours of sunset and sunrise:

– all power boats (<5m) must show an all round white light (additional requirements for >5m vessels).

– all boats (any type) must carry a light / electric torch / lighted lantern.

Penalties up to $500 individual, $2500 organisation)

  1. Safety Boats

Safety boats:

– must only be used for the specified (permit) purpose ie confine the use to the sporting activity supported

– limit the boat to a reasonable and necessary speed

– appropriately crewed and not overloaded with joyriders

– drivers hold either a current powerboat driver’s licence issued in any Australian State or Territory or an Australian Yachting Federation ‘TL3’ certificate.

  1. No wash zones (Speed)

Convention, common sense, courtesy and safety dictates that vessels should be slowed to max 4 knots and/or not create wash within the confines of a bay. This is particularly important in Yarralumla Bay which receives high use from a wide variety of users of varying ages and skill levels.

  1. Inspections

Inspections may be carried out at any time: powers boats should carry safety equipment at all times, lights when required and boat drivers should have their licences available for inspection at all times when on the water. Section 9

Lakes Ordinance 1976.

  1. Contact

Water Police maintain a listening watch on 27.88 MHz and VHF 16 during hours of duty.

If you need to contact the police or report an incident:

  • Emergency Incident: 000
  • Police Assistance: 131 444

Or use the following links:

National Capital Authority – NCA Incident Reporting Form

ACT Police – Online Reporting Portal

Rowing ACT Tinnie Guidelines

The ACT Water Police have advised that they will regularly do the following checks on support and recreational boats
• Vessel operator to produce a current state recreational boat license;
• Proof of current state registration and NCA permit for that vessel; and
• Full operational and safety inspections, including producing all ‘on-board’ safety equipment as specified within state marine safety regulations, and the NCA permit online application form

All tinnie drivers need to be aware of other unpowered craft (e.g. rowers and canoeists) and must show them reasonable courtesy. A tinnie driver must never deliberately endanger or interfere with rowers.