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Towing an Etchells - legally!

14 October 2012 David Ritchard

The dimensions shown here are not totally common across the States

"The dimensions shown here are not totally common across the States"

Photo by:
David Ritchard

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 CDIToyota Land Cruiser
Vehicle TARE21102595
Bare basic trailer550550
Basic boat15601560

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

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

Max overall length19m19m19m
Max Width2.5m2.5mNot stipulated
HeightNot stipulated4.3mNot stipulated
Trailer ROHNot Stipulated3.7m3.7m
RPNot Stipulated1.3m1.3m
Yacht ROH5.5m5.0m5.0m
Oversize Sign450mm x 1200mmNot stipulatedNot stipulated
Turning RightsIf trailer is signedNot stipulatedNot stipulated
Warning Flag450 mm2350 mm2450 mm2
Night Red Clearance Lights211
- And fitted toRear of boatRear of MastRear of Mast
Side marker lights2m SpacingNot Stipulated2m spacing
Max Width of ProjectionNot stipulated2m2m
Max Towing SpeedNot Stipulated90km/hNot Stipulated

The following limitation applies to Queensland - 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!!! The links are:




You wouldn't tow it with the mast stepped and equally, you'll need to have all your regulatory requirements up to speed, as well!

"You wouldn't tow it with the mast stepped and equally, you'll need to have all your regulatory requirements up to speed, as well!"

Photo by:
Phil Smidmore


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