South Australia Logo Government of SA - Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Logo Government of South Australia Website Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure Home Page Government of South Australia Website

Keep clear of big ships

It was a majestic sight when the Queen Mary II visited Port Adelaide recently, drawing large crowds and many other vessels to view the largest cruise ship to visit South Australia.

Transport Safety Compliance Officers were on hand to make sure that people kept a safe distance, but some people might ask why, given her apparent slow and steady movements on the water.

The speed and momentum of larger ships and vessels is very deceptive. They change direction slowly and can’t stop quickly due to their enormous weight. This means that any smaller boats getting in their way are in a dangerous situation.

These bigger ships can have very large blind spots where the master can’t see what’s in waters close to and for a long way ahead of the hull. Radar may not show up the presence of a small boat and if one gets in the way of a ship there’s a good chance they won’t be seen.

So, when we hear reports of boaties not taking care around and getting too close to big ships, alarm bells ring in the department. Pilots and masters of big ships do report near miss incidents and these will be pursued by the department with the intent of taking legal action as necessary.

You wouldn’t park on a runway at an airport with jumbo jets coming in, so why would you get in the way of a massive ship coming into dock – it just doesn’t make sense. Keeping clear of big ships, shipping channels and routes, particularly in and around our ports is the only way to stay safe from the dangers that they present.

Safe boating.

Brian Hemming
Director, Transport Safety Regulation