by Bob Wonders
Incidents involving collisions between vessels are more than twice as likely to occur on Gold Coast waterways than anywhere else in Queensland, according to a State Government maritime safety report.
Southport and Broadwater speed changes
Collisions proved to be the most frequently reported incident.
On Gold Coast waterways, particularly the Southport Broadwater, 38.8 percent of reported accidents involved collisions between vessels.
This compares with a State-wide average of 19.9 percent.
Furthermore, the report shows that of eight serious-injury marine accidents reported last year, seven were on the Broadwater.
Gold Coast City Councillor Margaret Grummitt (a former police officer) is seeking a State Government response to the issue. She said she was ‘constantly receiving complaints’ directed at boats running at high speed on the Broadwater.
Cr Grummitt will ask the government to include a map, clearly displaying Broadwater speed limits, to be forwarded with every annual boat registration sent out. “This information is available on the Maritime Safety Queensland website, but it needs to be more easily accessed,” she said.
The State Government report shows the number of reported marine accidents on the Gold Coast had been gradually increasing over the past five-years.
Last year’s the figures were the highest recorded and included 80 reported incidents involving recreational vessels.
Sergeant Les Murphy, of the Gold Coast Water Police, said he would support any move that helped make the public aware of speed limits and rules of the water.
“With the weather warming up, more boats are using the waterways and the Broadwater is getting busy,” he said.
“Our recent education program, where we intercept and educate boaters on speed limit requirements has been quite successful, so we’re hoping for a safe summer.”
To ensure the safe operation of vessels on Gold Coast waterways, Maritime Safety Queensland made a series of changes to the speed limis in July 2008.
List of the changes is available here.
Adjustment to existing legislation will also see the introduction of No-wash zones from 1 January 2009. No-wash zones will be established in areas where the wash from boats has been identified as a cause of safety or environmental risks. These zones will require owners to monitor their speed and the amount of wash their vessel is producing.