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Safety in recreational water activities laws

If your business offers recreational water activities such as snorkelling and diving, then you need to comply with Queensland’s safety in recreational water activities laws—as well as work health and safety laws.

The laws include:

  • the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011
  • the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Regulation 2011.

There is also a code of practice that supports the Act and Regulation, related to recreational diving and snorkelling.

The information below will give you an overview of the law and help you understand your health and safety duties.

Note: Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2024 introduced a prohibition for entering, providing or benefiting from an insurance arrangement that covers monetary penalties. Learn more about the prohibition of insurance. Learn more about other changes to the work health and safety framework.

The Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011 sets out the principles for healthy and safe workplaces that conduct recreational water activities for other people. It outlines what you must do to ensure the health and safety of people who are undertaking recreational water activities.
It also puts legal obligations on you, and your workers.


The Act aims to:

  • protect persons against harm during the conduct of recreational water activities
  • promote work health and safety advice, information, education and training
  • continually improve health and safety standards where recreational water activities are provided.

Who’s responsible?

The Act places the primary health and safety duty on the organisation or individual running a business or undertaking—referred to in the Act and Regulation as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU).

The organisation or individual running a business or undertaking that provides recreational water activities must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of those who the activities are provided for are not put at risk.

Duties and responsibilities are also placed on officers, workers and other persons at a place where recreational water activities are provided.

The Act also addresses duties, incident notification and other enforcement matters.

The Safety in Recreational Water Activities Regulation 2011 provides detailed information on what must be done to prevent or control certain hazards which can cause injury, illness or death.

The Regulation requires that:

  • counts are made for all persons on vessels
  • resort divers and entry level divers are medically assessed
  • lookouts (and/or guides for snorkellers), rescuers and first aid facilities are provided
  • resort divers are adequately supervised underwater
  • a dive safety log is kept
  • snorkellers are given advice about medical conditions.

Provisions in the Regulation (like the Act) are legally enforceable.

The Act and the Regulation are supported by codes of practice that give practical advice on how to meet your responsibilities.

Codes of practice deal with particular issues and don't cover all hazards or risks. You must consider all risks associated with the work you donot just those covered by regulations and codes of practice.

Below are the two codes of practice that relate specifically to recreational water activities:

You can also search the full list of codes of practice.

Note: the Occupational Diving Work Code of Practice 2005 is an approved code of practice under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, not under the Safety in Recreational Water Activities Act 2011.

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