Speed limits

Maximum speed limits apply in boating areas throughout Queensland. There are penalties and on-the-spot fines for exceeding a speed limit. For safety reasons, it may also be necessary to stay well below these limits depending on the conditions at the time, for example, bad weather. 

The following speed restrictions apply throughout Queensland whether speed limit signs for the area are present or not.

A speed limit of 6 knots applies: 

  • within 30m of 
    • a person in the water
    • a boat at anchor, moored, made fast to the shore or aground
    • a jetty, wharf, boat ramp or pontoon in or on the waters
  • in boat harbours, marina and canals. 

Different rules for speed and distance apply to personal watercraft (jet skis). Check the rules for personal watercraft for information about speed limit restrictions for personal watercraft on the water. 

Even at slow speeds your boat will create a wash. Look behind at your wash and be aware of the impacts this can have on the other boats, people in the water or the shore. Travelling at the speed shown on a speed restriction sign does not guarantee you are not creating excessive wash. 

When navigating near, in or through a mooring area drive slowly and keep wash to a minimum and keep a lookout for people in the water, small dinghies and trailing ropes. 

Fixed speed limit restrictions may apply to specific areas within Queensland waters. Check the Schedule of Speed Limits in Queensland for information on fixed speed limit restrictions in your area. 

Before boating in unfamiliar areas, find out if there are any speed limit restrictions. Contact a Maritime Safety Queensland regional office, local authorities or marine parks and obey speed restrictions signs. 

Gold Coast waterways

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority is responsible for speed limits in Gold Coast waterways. 

Last updated
14 May 2024