2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310 rear camera: Do you still need an observer when towing?

The rear camera on the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310 is a world first in the Jet Ski industry, but authorities say you still need an observer when towing. Here’s the law in each Australian state.

The 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310 Jet Ski is available with a rear-facing camera to help the rider keep an eye on who is behind them – such as when towing someone on an inflatable or a wake board.

Authorities in each Australian state – canvassed by Watercraft Zone – have clarified the rules on whether the camera is enough to replace a rear-facing observer.

The answers were unanimous: the Kawasaki’s rear-facing camera can supplement the rider’s view, but it cannot replace a passenger acting as an observer when towing someone on an inflatable device, a wake board, or similar.

Below is how authorities in each Australian state responded to the introduction of the Kawasaki rear-view camera.

To see how authorities in each Australian state responded to another industry first – the introduction of the 2022 Kawasaki Ultra 310 Jet Ski daytime running lights – click here.

Queensland

“Even with a rear-facing camera, it would still be compulsory for an observer to be on the (Jet Ski or personal watercraft) if towing a person on a device.”

NSW

“A rear-facing camera may be used by the (operator of the Jet Ski or personal watercraft) to improve their situational awareness only. Both the driver and the observer must keep a lookout when towing. When towing on a (Jet Ski or personal watercraft), the observer must face backwards to watch the person being towed while the driver faces forward to maintain a lookout.”

Victoria

“The installation of a rear-facing camera does not remove the requirement to have an observer on board who is in a position to a) observe the person being towed and b) communicate with the master (operator) of the vessel (Jet Ski or personal watercraft).”

Tasmania 

“A rear-facing camera can be a supplement but does not replace the requirement to have a passenger as an observer when towing someone on an inflatable device or similar.”

South Australia

“A person must not be towed by a vessel unless another person (the observer) on the vessel is continuously observing the person being towed and giving such directions to the operator of the vessel as may be necessary to prevent injury or risk of injury to the person being towed or to other persons. The observer must not be the operator of the vessel.”

West Australia 

“Even with a camera, (Jet Ski and personal watercraft) operators need to have an observer onboard when towing an inflatable device.”


When contacted by Watercraft Zone, the Boating Industry Association of Australia said it “supports the principle of safety when towing” – that is, the operator of the craft keeping a proper lookout while the observer concentrates on the well-being of the person being towed.

A representative said the regulations could change over time as the technology gains popularity – however that would be a matter for authorities in each state.

“Should the regulator’s evidence-based assessment be that rear cameras can replace the observer, the Boating Industry Association of Australia would support that determination,” said BIA representative Neil Patchett.

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