Skip to main content

Motor-powered hydrofoil board

In NSW these vessels are classed as a personal watercraft (PWC) but are exempt from certain requirements. Here are the rules for using one in NSW.

On this page

What is a motor-powered hydrofoil board?

The motor-powered hydrofoil board is a power driven vessel that operates on a foil and keel system with a propeller and a choice of output power ‘wing’. The vessel is designed to be operated by a person standing on the hull. The maximum speed of the vessel varies with the ‘wing’ type selected.

In NSW these vessels are classified under the Marine Safety Act 1998 as a personal watercraft (PWC).

Exemption from certain requirements

Operators of motor-powered hydrofoil boards are exempt from certain requirements that ordinarily apply to operators of a personal watercraft in clause 140(1) of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016, given the lower risks associated with the use of these vessels.

For more information, see NSW Government Notices dated 29 March 2019 (PDF, 1.77 MB) .

The exemption to the regulation ceases to apply if a motor-powered hydrofoil board operates at a speed above 25 knots, when the full requirements relating to PWC will apply.

Use on NSW waters

Motor-powered hydrofoil boards are subject to the following special conditions under the exemption:

  • They must not be operated in the Personal Watercraft Exclusion Zone (Sydney Harbour) unless a specific exemption is obtained.
  • They must not be operated between sunset and sunrise.
  • For the purposes of vessel registration, motor-powered hydrofoil boards that require registration (engine size greater than 4.0 kilowatts) are classified as a vessel, not a personal watercraft. The owner and operator must ensure the vessel registration number is clearly displayed on each side of the vessel, in figures that are at least 50 millimetres high, and in a contrasting colour to the hull so that they are clearly distinguishable.
  • Drivers/riders must wear an appropriate lifejacket for a PWC as specified in clause 120 of the Marine Safety Regulation 2016. Wearing highly visible clothing and lifejackets are strongly encouraged.
  • Drivers/riders must hold a general boat driving licence if the vessel is operated at 10 knots or more.
Top of page