River Rules


Traffic Rules for Paddlers
Although we paddlers don’t have to get a Skippers Ticket we are still considered to be the ‘vessel master’. This means we are responsible for the safety of our kayaks and any passengers. We also need to keep a look out for other river vessels and avoid collisions. Our kayaks don’t come with brakes and boats (power and sail) don’t come with brakes and row boats don’t have brakes and are going backwards.

The golden rule if you have any doubt, stay clear. When giving way, do so early and make your intentions obvious to other vessels.

We are generally smaller than other boats on the river/estuary and we sit lower in the water, making it difficult to be seen. We on the other hand have a great view of everything and everyone around us.

The general rule is to keep to the starboard (right hand) side of a channel. If you are concerned or intending to paddle in a very busy area of the river you can dress in high vis and keep close to the shore.

Visibility Rules for Paddlers
If you are going for a night paddle or training before sunrise there are rules about navigation lights for paddlers

The rule is “During the hours of sunset and sunrise, paddle craft operating on navigable waters must carry a torch or lantern capable of showing white light. This item must be ready for use and shall be shown in sufficient time to prevent a collision.”

As this rule is not all that practical, the recommendation is that an all-round white light is displayed at all times when operating during the hours of sunset and sunrise on navigable waters.

Lifejacket Rules for Paddlers
Wearing a life jacket on the river (ie sheltered/protected water) is your responsibility and choice if you are an adult member.

The rule is “It is a requirement that lifejackets are carried on the paddle craft when operating more than 400 metres offshore in unprotected waters. This lifejacket can be a Type 1, 2 or 3 (level 50S or higher)” e.g. ocean

You might want to consider wearing a Lifejacket or as we call them a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) if you are:
paddling in bad weather
a poor swimmer
on medication that may affect your balance

Wearing of lifejackets for children is the parents responsibility and choice. We recommend at all times for children under 10 years. If paddling club owned craft or entering a club event children 14 year and under must wear an approved PFD.
The rule is “All competitors under the age of 14 must wear an approved Personal Flotation.” This is an Australian Canoeing regulation.

Be smart. Be safe. Have fun.

INTALEX optimised