Boat safety

Boating is one of Australia's fastest growing pastimes. With more boats than ever in our waterways, the risk of collisions is also on the rise.

Theft is a problem too. Boats are obvious targets because they often have little or no security. Thieves will either try to make off with the whole boat, or target items left inside; such as radios, fish finders or depth sounders. These items are usually portable and easy to trade or sell.

  • If you're the skipper, give yourself plenty of time to react. Slow down and keep a suitable distance from other boats and jetties, the shore and people in the water
  • Maintain a constant lookout
  • Operate at a safe speed
  • Follow the navigation markers
  • Stay within the boating channel
  • Observe distance-off requirements
  • Know the give-way rules
  • Be aware of swimmers
  • Use navigation lights at dusk and dawn
  • Observe the boating speed limit

  • Allow an extra 20 metres stopping distance between your car and the vehicle in front
  • Travel at a lower speed when going down hills
  • Practise reversing in vacant car parks to become familiar with this manoeuvre on boat ramps
  • Always check the trailer lights, indicators and security chain before heading off

  • Install a boat lock
  • If your boat is on a mooring, check it regularly during the winter months, or arrange for a friend to do this for you
  • If you trail your boat, try to park behind a lockable gate and fit a hitch lock, or wheel clamp
  • Remove valuable items from your boat when unattended (including the detachable head unit of a GPS or fish finder)
  • Don't leave any items in your boat if it is unattended for long periods
  • Engrave your licence number on motors and portable equipment and keep a record of model and serial numbers