Centre for Maritime Safety

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Speed

Always drive at a safe speed when boating. Speeding incidents are likely to be serious so slow down to ensure a great day on the water.

Excess speed is a major cause of boating incidents. Reducing speeding on NSW waterways is a priority issue under the Maritime Safety Plan, as about one in 10 fatal or serious injury incidents are caused by excess speed.

Follow the rules for safe and responsible boating on NSW waterways with the Boating Handbook.

Speeding on the water is just as serious as speeding on the road, and can result in penalties. It also puts yourself, your passengers and other people using the waterways at risk. Reducing your speed can reduce the severity of injuries. This is because travelling at high speeds reduces your time to react to sudden hazards. The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop safely.

When you drive fast, you will also experience a greater force of impact if you collide with something, which increases the risk of serious injury. What is safe at one time might be very dangerous at another. For example, it’s dangerous to be travelling at high speeds in dense fog or heavy rain as you cannot spot hazards easily. The faster you go, the less time you have to avoid any sudden hazards and avoid an incident.

Tips to stay safe:

  • If you can’t stop in time to avoid collision, you’re going too fast
  • Always drive under the sign posted speed limit, because speed limits are put in place to keep everyone safe on the water
  • Always drive to the conditions and slow down in wet weather, at night or when visibility is poor; also slow down if there are lots of boats about or people in the water
  • Keep a safe distance at all times from the shore, structures, other craft and people in the water
  • Consider your boat’s handling at speed, especially in waves or chop and slow down or adjust your course for a safe and comfortable ride.