A flyboard is a device that allows both aerial and underwater propulsion. Here's what you must know before using a flyboard on NSW waterways.
What is a flyboard?
Information current as of June 2021.
The flyboard is a device that allows both aerial and underwater propulsion by directing pressurised water through nozzles. It is used in tandem with a personal watercraft. A flyboard can only be operated in NSW under an aquatic event licence.
There are various arrangements by which this device can be used. The first configuration is where one person sits on a personal watercraft controlling the throttle, while the other uses the flyboard. Direction is controlled, however, by the person on the flyboard. Another is where one person sits on a personal watercraft acting as an observer while the person on the flyboard controls the throttle as well as direction.
Risks when using a flyboard
The following issues have been identified in relation to the use of the flyboard on NSW navigable waters:
- the safety of the operator:
- regarding control of the device
- given the potential to hit the water surface at high speed
- during diving and resurfacing activities
- the safety of other persons in the water, including during resurfacing operations
- training of the operator in the take-off, flying, turning, hovering, diving, aerobatic, resurfacing and landing procedures
- the inability for a vessel operator to clearly determine the intended direction and manoeuvres of the flyboard user, particularly in relation to aerial and underwater manoeuvres.
Regulatory status of this technology
The flyboard is not suitable for registration and general use in NSW.
It’s considered to be an 'unsafe vessel' under Section 44 of the Marine Safety Act 1998 and Clause 76(2)(b) of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016.
Flyboards may under certain circumstances and with the grant of an Aquatic Licence to a commercial operator, be able to be used by commercial operators under specific and strict Aquatic Licence conditions. Breach of the condition of the Aquatic Licence will result in the cancellation of the licence.
Safe operating conditions
The following safe operating conditions are required for the use of flyboards. Additional conditions may be necessary depending on individual circumstances. Further conditions will accompany an application of an Aquatic Licence.
Common safe operating conditions include:
- A flyboard can only be operated in NSW under an Aquatic Event Licence.
- The operator must hold a national Certificate of Operation covering the proposed activity.
- The operator of the personal watercraft must hold a Coxswain’s Certificate of Competency, must have undertaken the training course operated by the flyboard manufacturer and must have gained their accreditation as an instructor.
- The flyboard must only operate in daylight hours and in conditions of good visibility.
- Where water depth is less than 4 metres the flyboard must not operate at a height of more than 2 metres from the water surface or dive into the water.
- Where another vessel approaches within 60 metres of the flyboard, the operator must lower the flyboard into the water.
- Participants wear a protective helmet similar to those approved by a certified water ski association for water ski racing.
- The area of use must be clearly marked with buoys in the water and signs at the ramp, lagoon entrance or water entry point.
- A designated safety officer must remain on shore to observe activities and keep a look out for other water users. The shore based observer and the tender operator must be able to have voice communication.
- The licensee may be required to cease operation during other licensed aquatic events held in the same location. Transport for NSW (Maritime) will notify the operator of other aquatic events.