Anyone riding a surf craft outside of the flags at any patrolled beach between Bondi and Maroubra will soon be required to carry and produce identification following a recent NSW Government decision.
The law will be enforced by the Waterborne Task Force (WTF), which will patrol the waters in IRBs or on surf craft during daylight hours. The officers will have the authority to demand a legal form of identification from any beach goer.
“This latest law is merely an extension of a larger and more comprehensive NSW Government policy which will safeguard the security of this great state” read a statement from the government.
Failure to produce identification will result in immediate confiscation and impounding of any surf craft, and or fins; which can only be reclaimed upon production of valid identification and the payment of a fine.
A government spokesperson was at pains to explain that the law would cover any person using a surfboard (long or short), a bodyboard, SUP, kayak, surf ski, bodysurfing fins or even an inflatable thong.
“…everyone except kneeboarders…” expanded the spokesperson “…they’re special.”
Concerns exist as to whether the law will cover life savers in the act of carrying out a rescue, and where boat crew members will keep their ID;
“… I’m sure they’ll find a place…” continued the spokesperson “…boaties are very resilient.”
Valid forms of identification include a driver’s licence, an original passport or a library card. Residents of Bondi will be allowed to show their BPass, while Maroubra locals can display their tattoo.
The law will be trialed on the eastern beaches due to the high volume of traffic at these locations, but will be phased in during the quieter months.
Should it prove as successful as the initiative which requires cyclists to carry identification at all times, it will be introduced to the rest of the country and, henceforth, apply to everyone utilising surf craft in Australian waters.
“Everyone except Mick Fanning…” clarified the spokesperson “…our officers are too scared to ask him.”
Published in The Beast, April 2016
Photo: Rachelle Blake