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Boating speeds reduced on Noosa River

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) has reduced boating speed limits in some parts of the Noosa River ahead of the September school holidays.

The southern shore from Noosa Sound to Lake Doonella and the Dog Beach areas near the Noosa River entrance are now permanently limited to six knots.

The move is the first in a package of initiatives MSQ is phasing in to improve safety on the river as it implements a new Noosa River management plan.

The new speed limits have been initiated following extensive public consultation including with Noosa Shire Council and community representatives in 2021 and 2022 and broader public consultation in December 2022 and January 2023.

Consultation involved feedback on several proposals, including speed limits, and river management considerations to manage the number of vessels and minimise abandoned and unsafe vessels.

The changes will improve on-water safety and address concerns about amenity and the environmental impact of vessels on Noosa River.

The new six knots areas are aimed at enhancing the safety of all users, while recognising the shared value of the waterway.

Existing speed limits for the river, including the normal “distance off” rules and areas that have temporary six knots speed limits in place for peak holiday periods, remain in place.

Boaties are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the new rules to ensure they are compliant.

All speed limits will be enforced by MSQ officers and partner agencies such as the Queensland Police Service.

Speeding is one of boating’s “fatal five” in Queensland and all boaties are reminded to operate their vessel safely and be aware of their surroundings.

However, it is not just about speeding. All boaties are reminded there is a general safety obligation to operate your vessels safely at all times. The operations of your vessel can affect the safety and property of others.

MSQ enforcement officers will focus on educating boaties, including about lifejackets and other regulatory arrangements, but will not hesitate to issue fines, if necessary.

Work is continuing to implement other aspects of the vessel management plan, such as anchoring limitations.

Maritime Safety Queensland acting general manager Jim Huggett said, “The Noosa River is one of Queensland’s favourite recreational playgrounds, popular with recreational and commercial boaties and swimmers.

“While it’s always a drawcard, it can become particularly congested during peak usage times such as school holidays.

“That is one reason why MSQ has consulted boaties and the wider community on how to improve safety, and they have spoken loud and clear about the need to restrict speeds in certain areas.

“The new speed limits, while introduced just ahead of the September school holidays, are permanent and must be observed at all times and supplement additional seasonal speed limits.

“MSQ’s officers will be out on the river working hard to inform boaties of the new speed limits but will not hesitate to issue fines if appropriate.

“In the meantime, MSQ is progressing a range of longer-term initiatives to further improve safety on the river.

“We will have more announcements on those at the appropriate time.”