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Boaters: Slow down and keep an eye out where vehicle ferries are about

by Leigh Wannan 27 Feb 2019 03:12 UTC
Vehicle Ferry © Leigh Wannan

Boaters are reminded to navigate safely near vehicle ferries after 20 near-misses were reported to Roads and Maritime Services between August 2018 and January 2019.

Roads and Maritime Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said the incidents must serve as a safety reminder for all boaters.

"We are still in the peak water-skiing and recreational boating season, and for this reason we are issuing a timely reminder for boaters to slow down and keep an eye out where vehicle ferries are about," Mr Mitchell said.

"There are 11 vehicle ferry crossings across the state and since August we have taken reports of 20 near misses, with the majority of near misses occurring on the Hawkesbury River.

"Near miss reports range from fishers and kayakers simply not paying attention to water-skiers speeding dangerously close to ferry cables."

Mr Mitchell said the best way to stay safe is to keep an eye out for ferry crossing signs and slow down when approaching crossings.

"Vehicle ferries operate by cables that are mostly submerged and hidden from view so crashing into one, especially at speed, is likely to have catastrophic consequences for you and your passengers," Mr Mitchell said.

"There are signs before every ferry crossing to warn skippers, so you need to slow down and keep an eye out when you sight them.

"We want everyone to enjoy themselves on our waterways, but we want to make sure all boaters to do so responsibly."

Safety tips around vehicle ferries include:

  • Be aware vehicle ferries often use submerged chains or cables
  • Slow down to four knots near vehicles ferries
  • Keep a 100 metre distance if possible
  • Always pass astern of a vehicle ferry
  • A ferry master will sound five horn blasts when they are unsure of your intentions
For more information about water safety, please visit

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