Boating is one of Australia's fastest growing pastimes. With more boats than ever in our waterways, the risk of collisions is also on the rise.

Theft is a problem too. Boats are obvious targets because they often have little or no security. Thieves will either try to make off with the whole boat, or target items left inside; such as radios, fish finders or depth sounders. These items are usually portable and easy to trade or sell.

There are some simple, common sense things you can do to keep everyone safe on the water. Don't forget to:

  • Slow down and keep a suitable distance from other boats and jetties, the shore and people in the water
  • Maintain a constant lookout
  • Operate at a safe speed
  • Follow the navigation markers
  • Stay within the boating channel
  • Observe distance-off requirements
  • Know the give-way rules
  • Be aware of swimmers
  • Use navigation lights at dusk and dawn
  • Observe the boating speed limit.

If you're using your boat to tow something, remember:

  • Allow an extra 20 metres stopping distance between your car and the vehicle in front
  • Travel at a lower speed when going down hills
  • Practise reversing in vacant car parks to become familiar with this manoeuvre on boat ramps
  • Always check the trailer lights, indicators and security chain before heading off.

To help keep your boat secure:

  • Install a boat lock
  • If your boat is on a mooring, check it regularly during the winter months, or arrange for a friend to do this for you
  • If you trail your boat, try to park behind a lockable gate and fit a hitch lock, or wheel clamp
  • Remove valuable items from your boat when unattended (including the detachable head unit of a GPS or fish finder)
  • Don't leave any items in your boat if it is unattended for long periods
  • Engrave your licence number on motors and portable equipment and keep a record of model and serial numbers.