Recreational fishermen and boat users recorded no fatalities in the state waters in 2018

ALL CLEAR: Encounter Bay boatie David is checked by Marine Safety Officer Patrick Sparks for flares at the Bluff Boat Ramp in Victor Harbor.
ALL CLEAR: Encounter Bay boatie David is checked by Marine Safety Officer Patrick Sparks for flares at the Bluff Boat Ramp in Victor Harbor.

The boat ramps throughout the Fleurieu Peninsula are packed with cars and trailers, as boaties converge to catch the abundant southern bluefin tuna and other fish species.

Marine Safety Officer Patrick Sparks has been very visible during the holiday period raising awareness of boating safety and checking that boaties are compliant with the laws. 

In 2018 there were no boating fatalities recorded and that will be the goal in 2019.

Boats need to carry life jackets for each person on board, one bailer with line attached or a bilge pump, one  anchor, fire extinguisher, waterproof and buoyant torch, one fire bucket, two hand-held red and orange flares and oars if the vessel is under six metres.

A two-way marine radio capable of communication, four litres of fresh water and a compass is recommended. A GPS is not a compass. Visit

A Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure spokesperson said changes were made to life jacket laws in December 2017, making it mandatory to wear one on recreational power boats and other unpowered craft.

“This was followed by a 12 month education phase undertaken by the Department’s Maritime Safety Officers to enable boaters to become familiar with the new laws and to replace existing life jackets where necessary,” spokesperson said. 

“In order to stay safe while boating, it is important to regularly check safety equipment to ensure it is in good condition.”

The spokesperson said boaties should operate a vessel within their capabilities and ensure they are wearing a life jacket at all times, especially when hauling big fish or cray pots.

“Inflatable life jackets must be serviced every 12 months or in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions,” spokesperson said.

It not just in the sea where boaties have to be compliant, as there are laws associated with operating a vessel in the Coorong.  

“Boaters are required to carry flares while boating in the Coorong, as it is classified as semi-protected water.

“When water skiing, boats are required to carry a skipper and observer where the latter is 16 years of age or older,” spokesperson said.

To keep up to date with these requirements visit 

“Compliance rates have improved as more individuals follow boating rules. Common  and serious breaches of the law have included individuals fishing within 150 metres of the barrage chasing mulloway. This is dangerous as water flowing though the barrage can pull a person under the water and make it difficult to swim back to the surface,” spokesperson said.