Skip to main content
Published: 2012-10-12 00:00:00

Ahead of the traditional Labour Weekend start to the summer recreational boating season, a new survey indicates boaties not following basic navigation safety rules are causing near misses on the water.

Early results from a limited phone survey of boaties in the region shows more than one in ten reporting potential problems with rule breaches, said navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“We’re still analysing the survey results but it’s of concern that people are reporting that boaties apparently not knowing the rules are causing a number of near misses on waterways and off the coast.”

Simple rules not being adhered to reportedly included:

  • Not keeping starboard (right) at all times including in river channels, passing other vessels
  • Not keeping to a speed of 5 knots (9 kilometres per hour or a fast walking pace) when within 50 metres of another vessel or a swimmer, or within 200 metres of shore.

It was also important for boaties to carry enough properly fitting lifejackets for the number of people on board. “If you end up in the water, you have more chance of survival if you are wearing a lifejacket,” said Mrs Botherway.

“We urge all new or inexperienced boaties to do a Day Skipper course with the Coastguard.”

Visit for Coastguard boating education information.

Boaties can also make sure they’re up to speed with local rules by visiting or phoning the council’s navigation safety team on 0800 800 401.