Trailers and Towing to Stay Legal

October 2012

After a prolonged period of interaction, NSW has recently introduced exemptions that allow you to legally tow your Etchells. We must thank David Edwards of Yachting NSW for his persistent and now successful efforts in having these exemptions promulgated.

These regulations are in slight conflict with those of Queensland and Victoria. Whilst there is a great deal of commonality, the differences do need to be noted. Most importantly, please ensure you are aware of the regulations by reviewing the documents linked below.

In NSW, the regulations distinguish between tow vehicle and loaded trailers (combination) having a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) of less than 4.5 metric tonnes and those in excess of that weight.

Below, I compare the weight of two suitable towing vehicles and you will note that your rig could well exceed 4.5 tonnes. You should also be aware that as well as the numbers tabled, you will probably also load your rig with an additional boom and mast, tools, toll boxes and the like, thereby taking the total over 4.5 tonnes.

  Mercedes-Benz ML320 CDI Toyota Land Cruiser
Vehicle TARE 2110 2595
Bare basic trailer 550 550
Basic boat 1560 1560
GVM 4220 4705

The dimensions used by each of the three States follow this diagram.

Towing Trailers

For vehicles over 4.5 tonnes GVM, the following dimensions apply:

Description/State QLD NSW VIC
Max overall length 19m 19m 19m
Max Width 2.5m 2.5m Not stipulated
Height Not stipulated 4.3m Not stipulated
FP 1.2m 1.2m 1.2m
Trailer ROH Not Stipulated 3.7m 3.7m
RP Not Stipulated 1.3m 1.3m
Yacht ROH 5.5m 5.0m 5.0m
Oversize Sign 450mm x 1200mm Not stipulated Not stipulated
Turning Rights If trailer is signed Not stipulated Not stipulated
Warning Flag 450 mm2 350 mm2 450 mm2
Night Red Clearance Lights 2 1 1
- And fitted to Rear of boat Rear of Mast Rear of Mast
Side marker lights 2m Spacing Not Stipulated 2m spacing
Max Width of Projection Not stipulated 2m 2m
Max Towing Speed Not Stipulated 90km/h Not Stipulated

In Queensland the following limitation applies:- Travel is not permitted within the area bounded by Coolangatta in the South, Ipswich in the West, Tewantin in the North, and the Central Business District of any other city between the hours of 6.00am to 9.00am and 4.00pm to 7.00pm, Monday to Friday inclusive.

All states require that you carry these exemptions/regulations with you, which must be produced to a police or transport officer on request. I stress the importance of reviewing the appropriate documents, as the onus is on you to comply!!!

PLEASE CHECK each State Transport authority for the most current information - these may not be - Updated December 2014