Calls to slow down on water

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Department of Transport warns boaties to slow down.
Camera IconDepartment of Transport warns boaties to slow down. Credit: Supplied / Department of Transport

A rise in complaints about skippers ignoring speed limits in Bunbury’s waterways has prompted warnings for boaties to slow down.

Department of Transport confirmed it had received more complaints than usual with fast moving vessels endangering the safety of others at popular boating locations in the region.

Boat ramps, Collie River and Casuarina Harbour have all been identified as problem areas.

“We are reminding boat owners that 8-knot speed restrictions are in place for the Collie River,” South West operations manager Peter Westgate said.

“Skippers also need to be mindful of the 5-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.”

Bunbury Sea Rescue skipper Brett Ladhams said the group had witnessed some speeding boat users and echoed calls for them to slow down.

“Our base overlooks the entrance to Casuarina Harbour where the limit changes from 8 knots to 5 knots and unfortunately, we do see some boats not adhering to these limits,” Mr Ladhams said.

“Also, the non-boating area extending east from Jetty Road for 80m sees plenty of skiing boats and jetskis when they really shouldn’t be in there.

“The rules are there for a reason, they’re not arbitrary speed limits set to ruin your day. The signs and markers are pretty clear.

“Excess wake has an adverse effect on moored vessels, smaller craft and can contribute to erosion in places like the Leschenault Inlet.”

The presence of speeding skippers appears to have divided the city’s boating fraternity with some groups saying there were no issues on Bunbury’s waterways.

Koombana Bay Sailing Club commodore Jon Birch said while his members were mainly in the open waters, the club had no issues with speeding boats.

“We think it would be fair to say, we don’t have a conflict with the power boat fraternity ... we rub shoulders in perfect harmony really,” Mr Birch said.

Forza Dragon Boat Club manager Neville Pearsall said boat users appeared to be complying with speed limits in the Leschenault Inlet, while Bunbury Rowing Club member Paula Gianotti said some were “pretty careless”.

“It is quite dangerous for us ... they just have to keep their eyes out and obviously not speed because we can’t see behind us when we’re rowing, they’ve got to be more aware of man-powered boats,” Mrs Gianotti said.

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