Squash that wash!
  |  First Published: December 2003

BOATERS need to be wary of the wash and waves created by their vessels particularly when boating in sensitive rivers and creeks.

Waterways Authority chief executive Matthew Taylor said vessel wash was a focus for Waterways boating officers this Summer.

"Almost every vessel under way creates varying degrees of waves and turbulence as it moves through the water," Mr Taylor said. "A semi-displacement motor cruiser at a speed of 12 knots will produce higher levels of wash when compared with the same vessel at four knots. In contrast, a lightweight speedboat will create minimal wash at higher, planing speeds compared with a low speed.

"It is the skipper's responsibility to be aware of the wash created by their boat and to choose a speed and course that will minimise adverse impacts upon other people, structures and fragile foreshores."

Mr Taylor said it was good practice for skippers to keep a regular watch on the amount of wash being generated by their vessel and its impact on others.

"If your vessel is creating wash that is causing a nuisance, annoyance or danger ... adjust your speed, trim and/or course,” he said. "The Waterways Authority has posted ‘No wash’ signs in some locations sensitive to excessive wash. Such signs indicate the skipper should take actions to minimise wash as much as possible.”

Mr Taylor said wash could create hazardous situations when boating on busy waterways. When a number of craft creating wash pass or cross each other, the waterway can become extremely rough and choppy, and small runabouts, sail craft or paddle craft need to take extra care in such conditions to avoid capsize or being swamped.

"Ultimately the impacts of wash can be minimised if skippers apply a healthy dose of care, courtesy and commonsense,” he said. “Failure to do so could result in an on-the-spot fine of $550 for causing nuisance, annoyance or danger."

– Waterways

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