Trouble on the water

In the past five years the DoT has investigated 889 marine incidents in WA, with 454 of those marked down as collisions or groundings.

On local waters, Cockburn contributed 19 per cent of collisions or groundings (86 incidents), finishing behind the Swan and Canning Rivers (25 per cent) and Karratha (23 per cent).

In fourth spot was Mandurah with 11 per cent.

DoT safety education co-ordinator Laurie Adams said shallow waters, rocky outcrops and reefs were major hazards for boat users taking advantage of local waters.

‘A lot of it is unchartered water and rocky outcrops so (navigating) it can depend a lot on local knowledge,’ he said.

‘People need to take care.’

Mr Adams said inattention and an over-reliance on electronic navigation was to blame for a growing number of incidents on WA waterways.

He said skippers who failed to keep a look out for hazards were gambling with the safety of themselves, their passengers and other water users.

‘There is a direct link between failure to keep a proper lookout and the high number of collisions and groundings which over the past five years resulted in three deaths and 15 serious injuries,’ he said.

Cockburn Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue commander Mike Graham said a high number of his rescues were for boats with engine trouble.

‘We’ve had a fair few people break down and drift on to the beach,’ he said.

Boat safety information can be found at transport.wa.gov.au/lookout.