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Boating safety – be aware on the water

With the warmer weather and holidays, more people are heading out to enjoy some time on the water. Here are some tips to help make your boating experience better.

Check the weather before you head out – if in doubt, don't go out

Queensland's weather systems are changeable and unpredictable. Good weather is critical for a safe and comfortable trip. Check the forecast when planning a trip, before you leave and while you are on the water:

  • From the Bureau of Meteorology.
  • Call Maritime Safety Queensland's weather service for the cost of a local phone call:
    • all of Queensland – 1300 360 426
    • marine warnings – 1300 360 427
    • south-east Queensland – 1300 360 428.

Remember, weather can change while you are out on the water. Always make sure you have more than enough fuel for your trip. You may need more on your way back if conditions deteriorate and the sea becomes choppy or you have to head to a safe anchorage to wait out a storm.

On the water, everywhere is an intersection – keep a proper lookout

Photo of the Gold Coast broadwater

Traffic on the water doesn't just come from one direction, it can come from anywhere. Skippers can use different methods to help them be aware of where they are going and their surroundings.

Use all available means to watch out for other vessels on the water. Your passengers can also help keep a lookout. Remember, your eyes are the best way to navigate. 

Don't sink through drink – under .05 applies on the water

Blood alcohol limits apply on the water too. The skipper must be under .05 – penalties, including licence cancellation and a fine, will apply to those caught over the limit.

The skipper is also responsible for the safety of passengers, which includes their alcohol consumption. Remember, the effects of alcohol are multiplied while on the water due to the sun, wind and constant motion. When under the influence of alcohol, reflexes and response times are slowed and swimming ability deteriorates considerably.

Find out more about alcohol rules.

You're the Skipper – You're Responsible

How you drive your vessel can affect others. Slow down so your wash doesn't affect other vessels. Before altering course, check for other vessels in all directions, especially behind you. Just because the rules say you may have right of way doesn't mean you shouldn't take action to avoid an incident (refer to Rule 5 and Rule 7 of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea).

Giving wayOvertakingCrossing
Diagram showing giving way on the water Diagram showing overtaking on the water Diagram showing crossing on the water
Boats meeting head-on: both turn to starboard (right) Keep clear until well past Boat on your right has right of way

Find out more about the collision regulations.

Last updated
24 August 2017