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Boating speeds and equipment under spotlight

Friday, 10 May 2019

Marine Safety patrols were kept busy over the Easter break, as a boat safety blitz on the River Murray and around the Yorke Peninsula resulted in 61 expiations being issued.

Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) Marine Safety patrols inspected 329 vessels, issuing 61 expiations, 144 cautions for minor infringements, and 14 ‘stop launches’.

DPTI Manager for Maritime Safety Gordon Panton said the patrols were on high alert following a recent spike in complaints regarding boating behaviour on the River Murray.

“The main focus of the patrols was on power boats and personal watercraft passing close to paddle craft, houseboats and small craft at high speed,” Mr Panton said.

“This is dangerous because the wash can swamp or capsize small craft, and cause damage to houseboats and potential injury to occupants”.

A four-knot speed limit applies to any boat operating within 30 metres of a jetty or wharf, a place where a boat is being launched or retrieved, or any vessel which can be adversely affected by your wash.

A limit of four knots also applies within 50 metres of small, unpowered craft or a person on the water, as well as within 100 metres either side of a River Murray ferry crossing. Personal watercraft are also limited to four knots in any backwater of the River Murray above Wellington.

Patrols along the Yorke Peninsula, meanwhile, targeted safety equipment on boats over the recent long weekend.

Mr Panton observed there had been an improvement in this area since the last long weekend, but there was a higher than expected number of issues with basic items of safety equipment, such as flares and fire extinguishers.

“Safety equipment is necessary to ensure the safety of boat crews, and it’s disappointing to see risk to life from a lack of relatively inexpensive equipment,” he said.

For information about safety equipment requirements and boating rules, visit