Windsurfing NSW has been successful in lobbying Roads and Maritime Services to recognise sailboards as sailing vessels under the Sailing Event Notification System.

In 2017 RMS introduced the system known as SENS to “reduce the administrative burden” by exempting organisers of sailing events from the requirement to obtain an aquatic licence, provided certain conditions are complied with.

However, under MARINE SAFETY REGULATION 2016 EXEMPTION ORDER Clause 140(1), sailboards (and kiteboards) were specifically excluded from the definition of a Sailing Event. This meant clubs and classes affiliated with WNSW still needed to apply for an Aquatic Licence to host a windsurfing event. Clubs that regularly raced both sailboards and dinghies needed to make separate applications to run the same races for different craft.

Windsurfing NSW made a formal submission to RMS in February 2019, arguing our Risk Management Plan, which applies to all clubs and windsurfing classes affiliated with WNSW and any event organised or co-organised by WNSW, showed how seriously we regarded the safety of our participants and others. We argued that course racing for sailboards posed no higher risk than regular, organised yacht sailing. We also asserted that rather than simplify the process, the change to SENS had created confusion and extra work for clubs racing sailboards and windsurfing regatta organisers.

We are pleased RMS has considered our arguments in their review. An order published in the NSW Government Gazette on 20 March 2020 exempts organisers of sailing events involving sailing vessels (primarily propelled by wind, including sailboards or kiteboards) from the requirement to hold an aquatic licence. View the exemption and conditions. View further info on SENS.

Lissa McMillan

President WNSW