If you're the skipper, you're responsible on Australia Day
News for the Department of Transport
Skippers taking to the water to enjoy tonight's Australia Day Skyworks need to check their navigation lights and complete a BEST check of their vessel before leaving home.
Department of Transport (DoT) Marine Officers who will be controlling all on-water activities for the event, say all vessels must have the correct combination of navigation lights for the trip home and recommend lifejackets and flares are carried on board.
Skippers also require a Recreational Skipper's Ticket to be in charge of a vessel with a motor of more than 4.5 kilowatts (6HP).
DoT Director of Waterways Safety Management Chris Mather said tonight was the busiest time of the year on the river and skippers planning on attending need to prepare by following DoT's BEST safety checklist guidelines which identify items to be maintained before each trip under the headings boat, equipment, safety equipment and trailer.
Mr Mather said skippers were responsible for the safety of their vessel and passengers at all times and need to be mindful it's an offence to navigate a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"If possible skippers are also advised to delay their journey home following the event to ease congestion on the river and avoid delays at boat ramps," Mr Mather said.
"Following the skyworks conditions can be particularly hazardous for small craft as traffic on the water is at its peak and we are calling on skippers to delay their trip home by up to an hour.
"Skippers of larger vessels should consider mooring overnight in one of the spectator craft areas and those heading home need to be patient and courteous."
There are special restrictions on Perth Water today including:
- An 8 knot speed limit from the Narrows to Causeway bridges including all of Perth Water between 3 pm and 11 pm;
- Elizabeth Quay will be closed to all vessels from 12:00 noon until 6 am tomorrow;
- Perth Water will be closed to all vessels from 4.45 pm to 9.45 pm;
- There will be a 300 metre exclusion zone around the fireworks barges and pontoons until 8 am on the 27th January 2017;
- Swimming will be prohibited from 3 pm until sunrise tomorrow;
- Heirisson Island Cove will be closed to all vessels;
- Vessels are only to anchor or moor in the spectator vessel holding areas; and,
- The Narrows Bridge main navigation channel (centre arch only) is to be used by all vessels.
The Belmont ski area will be closed from 3 pm to accommodate an increase in river traffic from the Maylands and Goodwood Parade boat ramps.
Skippers are also reminded that after dark the open speed limit on the Swan Canning Riverpark is restricted to 10 knots.
While it is not a requirement for all vessels to be fitted with a radio, boats fitted with one are asked to monitor 27.88 MHz or VHF 9 and 16 (call sign is 'Marine Command'). These frequencies are for any on water information or instructions relating to the event. A message will be broadcast on these channels detailing closures and reopening of Perth Water. DoT Marine Officers will also be on hand to advise uncertain members of the boating public.
DoT's free Australia Day Skyworks River Closures and Restrictions booklet provides vital navigation information and safety advice.
For a copy of the booklet go to www.transport.wa.gov.au/australiaday
And for information on the BEST checklist www.transport.wa.gov.au/best
Media contact: Bronwyn Hillman 0408 098 220