New focus on boating safety at Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands

News for the Department of Transport


The introduction of formal speed restrictions, no boating areas and dedicated zones for aquatic activities at key locations across Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands will improve safety for all water users.

Following consultation with the local communities, the Department of Transport (DoT) on behalf of the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities today released aquatic use plans for the islands and launched an education campaign to raise awareness of the on-water changes.

DoT Manager Safety Education Laurie Adams said the measures, which in some cases simply formalised existing arrangements, were designed to allow different user groups to confidently share local waterways with increased safety.

"A formal aquatic use review and consultation process, requested by the Indian Ocean Territories and supported by local stakeholders including the port and local authorities, helped identify areas where there were concerns about safety and these have been addressed in the two plans," Mr Adams said.

At the Cocos (Keeling) Islands existing speed restrictions at the main jetties and boat ramps on West and Home islands, together with the no boating area around the swimming pontoon at Direction Island will be formalised.

At Flying Fish Cove at Christmas Island, the safety of divers and snorkelers who frequent the location will be enhanced after the informal restricted speed area was extended in response to reports of near misses between divers and vessels. The extension of the zone had strong support from the port and the local community.

Mr Adams said while the changes would be formally gazetted from Tuesday July 31, 2018, the focus would be on safety education rather than enforcement.

"To assist boat owners and raise awareness DoT has produced new boating guides for the Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands and safety signage at boat launching ramps and key locations reflect the new laws," Mr Adams said.

"DoT marine safety education officers will be visiting the Indian Ocean Territories in early August attending boat launching ramps, schools and community events as part of the campaign to educate aquatic users."

For a copy of the boating guides visit the Boating guides page.

DoT also administers the registration of recreational vessels on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands. More information about boat registration is available on the Boat registration page.

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Page last updated: Fri Oct 1 2021 11:38:59 AM