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Ski boat warning: don't cut across the bow

15 May 2014

Cruising along the Murray in his wooden boat, Colin Mill’s tranquillity suddenly turned to panic.

As he passed a row of shacks at Bowhill, a power boat and skier passed between his vessel and the bank.

It then turned sharply across his bow. Unfortunately the skier didn’t complete the turn.

He fell into the water and was suddenly right in the path of Colin’s 10 tonne, 10.5 metre long wooden boat.

It was a very frightening experience, Colin said.

“Because of the size of the vessel I can’t slow down or manoeuvre quickly,” he said.

“All I could do was hope the skier was ok.”

Fortunately the boat missed the skier, but it was a close call.

“According to a witness he was so close he actually put his arm up to fend off my bow,” he said.

“If he’d been hit that wouldn’t have helped much given the size of the boat.”

Colin’s message is clear for all skiers on the Murray: don’t turn in front of boats.

Instead go around to the back or stern of the boat and turn there where it’s safe.

“It’s not necessary to turn in front of boats and it puts everyone in danger,” Colin said.

“Please just take that little bit of extra time and go around the back so if the skier falls they are not in harm’s way.”

In addition, a boat must not travel within 100 metres of, or directly behind, a person who is being towed by another boat.

Waterskiing safety