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Captains hat on a jetty

National Boat Safety Week

At the end of the 1820’s the Derbal Yerrigan or Swan River as we know it, was still full of lush trees overhanging the foreshore with shallow riverbeds,  plenty of fish and bush tucker, and dreamtime stories about the Wagul. It was quiet, except for the wild life. The Indigenous was not boating people and would only cross the river where the sandbars allowed them.

Boating became the new way to transport, explore and trade between places in the early settlers years. Large ships, barges and smaller rowing boats started to fill the river. Goods from Fremantle had to be transported to the Upper Reaches, before the railway was built here in Western Australia. Industrial waste and petrol was poured into the river and most of the pure beauty diminished.
an old photo of a large barge in Maylands

Today, the upper reaches of the river is only for recreational use. It’s a place to play, enjoy and spend time with family and friends on the water. Jet skies, rec fishing, crabbing and catching prawns, leisure and passenger boats. We take pride in our playground and we look after it so it can stay our playground for years to come.

With so many different vessels on the river at one time, we need to have rules and regulations to stay safe. This is on the jetty, the boat ramp, whilst on the river (navigation and equipment) and the way we look after our vessels.
From October 2 to October 8 is National Safe Boating Week. It is an initiative by Anzsbeg – Australian New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group – to increase knowledge about safe boating practices and to promote responsible boat ownership for both commercial and recreational use. It’s a timely reminder just before the peak boating season starts.

Selfies on the bow of the boat
Nauti Picnics wanted to jump on board and give you a few tips on what Safety means here at Nauti and how you play a role and what you can do to ensure you, your children and your crew is safe on the Swan River aboard our electric boat.   

  1. Plan your trip.
    We have placed our handy map on our website, in your confirmation email and on board our boat. It’s always good to be prepared, so have a look at the navigations and which way you would like to go! The map will show you markers, channels and which jetties to stop at.
    Make sure you pay attention to the markers along the river and follow them throughout your journey. These are placed to ensure you are in a safe place while on the river.
    The “Off The Grid” route is a lot calmer than heading down to “ElectriCity” ie if you are unsure about being the skipper.
  2. Pay attention to safety information.
    This year we introduced safety waivers and briefing prior to your hire. This was again to prepare you, especially if you are a landlubber and have not been at the helm before. It is also a reminder to those who have a skipper’s ticket, but may not have used it lately. This information is crucial as it tells you what and how to do things onboard. We also give you a “crash” course (safety induction) in boat handling on the jetty prior to setting you off on your adventure.
  3. Life Jackets.
    Wearing a Life jacket is the best way to help prevent drowning should someone fall overboard. Even if a child or an adult is a good swimmer, personally, we think they should all wear life jackets as we never know what might happen should an accident happen.
    Right now it’s only children under 10 that it is mandatory for. And we keep adult life jacket in the hull. Keep an eye out for possible changes soon.
  4. Keep Right.
    While vehicle drivers are used to keeping left, it is the opposite on the water.  Skippers of a vessel stay to the right of the middle on the water. The golden rule in sailing is “Look to the right, give way to the right, turn to the right and stay to the right. Always keep right in channels.” So, keep right! We don’t want you to get stuck in the sandbars or be on a collision route so it’s important that you do remember to stay far away from the foreshore on the right hand side of the river. We have installed a GPS tracker in the hire boat and we will be able to remind you should you be forgetful.
  5. Fair Winds.
    The weather plays a huge part in making your day as perfect as can be. It can easily be forgotten in the lead up to your boat hire, but it can actually make or break your day.
    Be sure to keep an eye out on the forecast in the days prior. We absolutely do. Check the sun, the rain, the wind and most importantly the gust. With gusts around 30km +, we do not operate due to the unpleasantness of controlling the boat, the picnic on the table flying off and your safety on the water. If the conditions aren’t suitable, we will definitely let you know, and we are happy to reschedule to a beautiful sunny day.

a group of people sitting at a table with food

It is a lot to take in, but we promise you it is worth it if you take safety into consideration and follow some easy rules and regulations. Do you remember when you first got your drivers license? Well, that’s how it feels like every time you are behind the helm. Exhilaration. Slight fear. But most of all – FREEDOM! And when hiring a boat with Nauti Picnics, you don’t have to worry about all the other safety subjects like maintenance, trailer repairs, insurance and Safety Management Systems from authorities.  Your job is to enjoy the flow!
For more tips on safety, check our other blog here