On 5 June 2019, the Vietnamese Goverment issued Decree No. 48/2019/NĐ-CP on the management of operation of waterborne vehicles for recreational purposes (“Decree 48”). This is the first time that the Government has issued a separate regulation on water recreational games and sports, even though there have been proposals made since 2017. Decree 48 provides the following requirements:

1. Active zones:(i) Zone 1 is a water area on inland waterways, seaport waters or maritime areas; and (ii) Zone 2 is another water area, excluding Zone 1, which is marked and located by buoys or flags with noticeable colors. Based on the practical situation, the relevant authority shall stipulate time periods of day to be allowed for recreation and entertainment activities in both zones.

2. Requirements for waterborne vehicles and operators: These vehicles must be tested according to national technical regulations promulgated and registered by the Minister of Transport, except for those already registered in accordance with the inland water transport or maritime law.

3. Requirements for drivers of vehicles:(i)Drivers must be at least 15 years old and have good health; (ii) For a motorized vehicle with a total engine capacity of more than five horsepower, Drivers must have a driving license; (iii) Drivers must wear a life jacket while participating in recreational activities; (iv) Vehicles are only allowed for recreation in the water area approved or announced by the competent authority; and (v) Drivers without a certificate as prescribed above must be instructed on the safety skills provided by a service organization or individual provider  before operating the waterborne vehicles.

4. Organizations and individuals that perform activities in operation zones and provide water recreational and entertainment services: These organizations and individuals are required to (i) check the safety conditions of vehicles and equipment regularly; (ii) fully arrange life jackets, life-saving equipment, fire prevention and fighting equipment as prescribed; (iii) organize recreational and entertainment activities only within the prescribed period; (iv) must have plans to ensure security, safety, search and rescue, and prevent environmental pollution; and (v) train and guide safety skills for participants in recreational activities.

In addition, to ensure maximum safety, Decree 48 also stipulates that (i) the vehicle is not put into operation when safety conditions are not satisfied; (ii) the driver of an amusement or water recreation is not allowed to drive the vehicle out of the designated operating area; (iii) there are warnings and instructions on climate, weather, health and related factors when providing the services; (iv) there are recommendations on cases where participating in water recreation and entertainment activities is not allowed; (v) arrangement of berths and mooring areas and recreation facilities where vehicles are allowed to anchor only at prescribed places; (vi) arrange signals according to regulations; and if signal is arranged, buoys and flags must be arranged as follows: Minimum buoy diameter 50 cm, flag 50 x 60 cm; the distance between two buoys or a flag is 10 m.

Decree 48 also stipulates that participants in water recreational and entertainment activities must wear life jackets the entire time while in the water, and take responsibility for their own health.

Decree 48 took effect  on 15 August 2019.


For businesses participating in water sports activities, on 29 April, 2019, the Government also issued Decree 36/2019/ND-CP stipulating business conditions for enterprises in sports activities (“Decree 36“). In particular, for enterprises performing water sports activities, the conditions for this enterprise are to (i) Have rescue personnel; (ii) Have physical facilities, and sports equipment meeting national technical standards promulgated by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism; and (iii) For sport activities on rivers, sea, lakes or big streams, there must be motorized lifeboats. In addition, Decree 36 also regulates the certificate of eligibility for sports business activities of the enterprise, as well as the content and procedures for the application for the certificate of eligibility for business activities. sports activities for businesses.

Decree 36 took effect  on 16 June 2019.


Regarding sanctions against administrative violations in the field of sports, the Government also issued Decree No. 46/2019 ND-CP on 27 May, 2019 (“Decree 46“). Accordingly, this Decree applies to Vietnamese organizations and individuals engaged in sports activities on Vietnamese territory and abroad. Each act of administrative violation in the field of sports, violating organizations or individuals is subject to one of the forms of warning and fine sanctions.

In addition, Decree 46 clearly states that depending on the nature and severity of the violation, organizations and individuals that commit administrative violations in the field of sports may also be subject to additional sanctions such as: Deprivation of the right to use the certificate of eligibility for business activities; Forced to hand over unlawful earnings gained from administrative violations; Forced cancellation of competition results of athletes and coaches; forced cancellation of sports competitions; sports competition achievements; forced public apology, etc.

Specifically, the maximum fine in the field of sports prescribed in Decree 46 is VND 50 million for individuals and VND 100 million for organizations. Among them, a fine ranging from VND 5 million to VND 10 million shall be imposed for using exercises, sports or methods of practicing and competing sports that are pornographic, depraved and which incite violence, contrary to social morality, Vietnamese traditions and customs and national cultural identity. For administrative violations in the field of sports that occur before the effective date of this Decree and later discovered or considered to be handled, regulations which are beneficial to individuals, organized violations shall be applied.

Decree 46 took effect on 1 August 2019.


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