Increase in complaints prompts speed warning to boat users

An increase in complaints from water users has prompted the Department of Transport to warn South West skippers to slow down.

The department is concerned some skippers are ignoring speed limits and by doing so are risking the safety of passengers and other water users.

Department of Transport South West operations manager Peter Westgate said there had been a series of complaints about fast moving vessels endangering the safety of others at popular boating locations throughout the South West.

“We are reminding boat owners that eight knot speed restrictions are in place for the Collie River and Blackwood River, also for the approach to the boat ramps at Dolphin Road in Busselton and the boat ramp at Quindalup,” he said.

“Skippers also need to be mindful of the five knot limit at the entrance to Augusta Boat Harbour, Port Geographe at Busselton and at Bunbury’s Casuarina Boat Harbour.

“Summer is a busy time on our waterways so skippers should slow down, to keep the waves friendly to other users and ensure safety.”

The warning from authorities coincides with an opportunity for skippers in the region to participate in the Old4New lifejacket upgrade.

The Old4New program, delivered in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia, is an upgrade opportunity where old, damaged, obsolete or foam filled lifejackets can be exchanged for a voucher for use at a local retail outlet when purchasing a new lifejacket.

The program has seen more than 2,500 unsafe lifejackets taken off boats in WA. 

Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia senior manager Lauren Nimmo said in the majority of the 47 boating-related drownings in WA waterways in the past 10 years, the victim had not been wearing a lifejacket and 62 per cent of those deaths occurred in regional WA.

Voucher limits and restrictions are in place to ensure the benefits of the program apply to as many vessels as possible so people who want to participate should check the guidelines transport.wa.gov.au/lifejackets. 

Old4New will be at the following locations in the South West in January:

15/1/19 - Peppermint Grove Beach Community Centre - 12 noon to 1pm

16/1/19 -  Quindalup boat ramp (off Geographe Bay road, Dunsborough) - 9am to 10am

17/1/19 - Port Geographe boat ramp (off Starboard Road, Busselton) - 9am to 11am

19/1/19 - Bunbury boat ramp (off Lyons Cove - Bunbury Power Boat Club) - 9am to 11am