Safe on the Water

Have fun and be safe on the water.

Flinders Ports, South Australia’s leading port operator, reminds our keen boaties to stay safe on the water in Port Adelaide’s Port River, Outer Harbor and around the shipping channel as these waters are shared with large ships.

Fishing and recreation are welcomed on the Port River, but for safety, small boats need to stay well clear of the large ships in the Port River channel and its approaches when large ships are manoeuvring.

Ships that are 300 metres long, weighing over 100,000 tonnes are common around Port Adelaide. Sailing around these massive ships can have many hidden dangers, and it is important that boaties know their responsibilities and do not become complacent.

If you are planning to head out for a day on the water, you are responsible for your own safety, and for knowing the do’s and don’ts.  You can reduce the risks of boating around the mammoth ships by following a few easy tips.

  1. Understand your responsibilities

For a free copy of the South Australian Recreational Boating and Safety Handbook, visit, or contact the Boating Safety Unit on 1300 183 046.  You can also download a fact sheet from for information on staying safe on the water around Port Adelaide.

  1. Know who is about:

Before you head out on the water in Port Adelaide, start by visiting Flinders Ports’ mobile phone and tablet-friendly website,, to check out the shipping schedule. This has the latest information on shipping movements and port rules in and around Flinders Ports’ South Australian ports.

  1. Never anchor in a shipping channel

It is illegal and extremely dangerous. Small boats should also avoid sailing in a channel and its approaches when large vessels are using that channel. It is often impossible for big ships to stop or change course to avoid a small boat. Big ships need deep water to navigate safely and must maintain speed to be able to steer. Appearances can be deceptive too. Large vessels are often travelling far faster than they seem to be.

  1. Be seen

The bridge of a large ship can be over 100 metres away from the bow. Her blind spot span up to one kilometre in front of the ship, so just because you have spotted a big vessel, never assume that her crew has seen your boat. If you are out on the water at night or when visibility is poor, always switch on your navigation lights.

Boaties should also be aware that Flinders Ports will also be carrying out works for the Outer Harbor Channel Widening Project, which may affect boaties planning to be in the vicinity of Outer Harbor and the Channel from December 2018 to October 2019. Preliminary works affecting navigation aids are planned to begin in December 2018, and dredging works expected to begin in March 2019.   Visit or call 1800 431 317 to find out more about the project and works that will occur in the channel before heading out on the water.

Remember to keep clear of big ships and be seen. Know the rules and enjoy South Australia’s coastal havens.

For a free copy of the South Australian Recreational Boating and Safety Handbook, visit, or contact the Boating Safety Unit on 1300 183 046.

For details on shipping movements at South Australian ports operated by Flinders Ports visit:

Outer Harbor Channel Widening


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With seven ports, Flinders Ports is South Australia's leading privately owned port operator.

Our ongoing program of investment in new plant and infrastructure is driving the safety and productivity gains we are delivering to our valued clients.

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