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Channel fishers risking lives

15 March 2012

A morning of fishing over the Adelaide Cup long weekend could have ended in tragedy for boaters who decided to lay anchor in a popular shipping channel.

On Saturday morning (10 March) more than six boats were anchored in the Port River as the 260 metre Manila Express departed the waterway.

The container ship, which can weigh up to 40,000 tonnes, was forced to navigate through the stationary boats while their skippers and passengers looked on, seemingly unaware of the life threatening situation.

Anchoring in a channel is illegal and an extremely dangerous action. It places boats in the way of vessels trying to navigate a narrow waterway.

This danger is heightened when big ships are involved. The average large ship is around 300 metres long and when navigating the 130 metre wide Port River there is little room for error.

Because of the high position of the pilot and the time needed to change course it’s impossible for a big ship to steer around small stationary vessels.

The drag caused by a large vessel can also hamper the escape of smaller boats that have left it too late to move.

Details of the boats anchored in the channel were recorded by the pilot of the Manila Express and warnings and possible fines will be issued.

A video on how to avoid anchoring in a channel is available here.

For more information on safe boating near commercial vessels go to


port river channel

boat in channel