The Queensland Government has announced that a new recreational snorkelling and diving Code of Practice for Queensland tourism operators was now in force.
“We have had extensive consultation with industry and I am confident that this finalised code will ensure visitors who are diving and snorkeling in our state feel it is being done in the safest manner possible,” Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said.
“Queensland has the largest recreational snorkelling and diving sector in Australia and we’re the only state to have specific legislation covering the industry,” she said.
Minister Grace said the new industry code of practice requires reef tourist vessels to carry automatic external defibrillators and ensure operators have systems in place to identify at-risk snorkellers prior to them entering the water. The new rules also mandate the use floatation devices for at-risk snorkelers and require them to swim in a buddy pair.
Minister Grace said there will also be a consistent safety message for all recreational and at-risk snorkellers, meaning the right safety message will be communicated to them when they leave on their vessel.
“There are also minor diving-related amendments in the Code which:
– simplify certain requirements so that they align with international training agency standards;
– enhance supervision requirements by ensuring instructors are positioned to render assistance in an emergency; and
– include a requirement for training to teach resort divers how to practically inflate and deflate their buoyancy control device.”
Member for Barron River Craig Crawford voiced his support for the new rules.
“This code is crucial for Far North Queensland tourism and the local economy.
“Our industry strives to ensure world’s best practice and now that this Code has been signed off, we have achieved this,” he said.
“It will ensure Queensland continues to lead the way on reef and water safety and make the reef an even safer place to visit for tourists,” Mr. Crawford said.
CEO of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators Col McKenzie said:
“Local tourism operators support the new code and I look forward to working with industry to ensure it works as intended.”