Safe on the Water

Be responsible. Be aware. Be seen.


With boating season underway, Flinders Ports reminds boaties to stay safe on the water. The aim is to ensure South Australians can enjoy getting out on the water safely and without obstructing the region’s busy shipping channels.

While fishing is welcomed on the Port River in Adelaide, small boats should keep well clear of the Port River channel and its approaches when large ships are manoeuvring. This same rule applies for the smaller regional ports dotted up and down our coastline.

Ships that are 300 metres long, weighing over 100,000 tonnes are now common around Port Adelaide. Fishing in and around the vicinity of these massive ships can have many hidden dangers, and it is important you know your responsibilities and do not become complacent when out on the water.  There are some simple things that you can do to stay safe on the water.

Be aware of your responsibilities. You can get a free copy of the South Australian Recreational Boating and Safety Handbook by calling 13 10 84 or visiting  You can also download a fact sheet from for information on staying safe on the water around Port Adelaide.

Know who is about. Before you head out on the water, 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.

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.

Never assume you have been 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 fishing boat. If you are out on the water at night or when visibility is poor, always switch on your navigation lights.

Following these rules will ensure that fishing and commercial shipping can carry on side-by-side throughout our boating season. Happy fishing and boating!


South Australia’s Gateway

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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P + 61 (0)8 8447 0611
F + 61 (0)8 8447 0606
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296 St Vincent Street, Port Adelaide South Australia, 5015

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