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River radar aimed to slow boaties

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Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti, Bicton member Lisa O’Malley and vice-president of Boating WA Kim Wilkie with the new speed sign.

Authorities have amped-up their fight against speeding Swan River boaties, with new figures showing an alarming spike in offences.

The annual number of infringements and cautions issued to offending boat skippers on the Swan and Canning rivers jumped 72 per cent last year to 1458.

Nearly half of these were for speeding.

It has prompted the Department of Transport to install an on-water radar speed sign at East Fremantle in a two-week trial designed to reduce speeds to the eight-knot limit.

The sign will display an approaching vessel’s speed. The same concept is used on roads to make drivers aware of their speed.

The trial, believed to be a world first, will see the radar mounted on a navigation aid.

“The trial is a positive way to address the problem and empowers skippers to be responsible on the water,” Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said. “The safety of all water users in this part of the waterway will be greatly enhanced because skippers travelling through the area will be better informed about their speed.

“The results of the trial using this new technology could lead to duplication of the initiative in other known speeding hotspots on the river.”

The trial was prompted following approaches by Boating WA and Bicton MLA Lisa O’Malley, who reported damage to boats moored in East Fremantle as a result of wake caused by speeding boats.

Across the Swan and Canning rivers, the new data shows river speeding offences jumped from 385 infringements and cautions in 2017 to 649 last year.

The second biggest offence was driving an unregistered vessel, jumping 32 per cent from 132 to 174 infringements and cautions.

Another prolific offence was skiing in an undesignated area, with 145 cautions issued last year.

Recreational boating accidents in WA have resulted in 25 deaths over the last five years.

Last year, the McGowan Government introduced CCTV at four river boating hotspots. Since September, the vision has been used to issue 171 infringements and 448 cautions.

Courtesy: Kent Acott

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