Boaties reminded to go slow for those below

Issued: 24 Dec 2019

Boaties are being urged to slow down for marine wildlife this summer as if they keep a good lookout and “go slow for those below” they can help protect turtles and dugong.

The Department of Environment and Science is urging people to reduce their speed in estuaries, sandy straits, shallow inshore areas and reef flats, and avoid boating over shallow seagrass meadows if possible.

Turtles and dugong can be injured or killed by vessels when they need to come up for air.

Turtles may be basking on the surface and can be slow to react. Both dugong and turtles can be foraging in seagrass meadows.

Also, its turtle breeding season, when groups of mating turtles can be near the surface of the water.

The survival of turtles, like the endangered loggerhead turtle and the green turtle, depend on them being able to have a successful mating season.

There are designated go-slow areas in some marine parks. Please make yourself familiar with these areas – details are in the marine parks visitor guides and zoning plans on the Department of Environment and Science website.

Doing the wrong thing in a go-slow area can result in an on-the-spot fine of $533.

Examples of permanent go-slow areas include Double Island Point in Great Sandy Marine Park, and Amity Banks in Moreton Bay Marine Park.

There are also some seasonal go-slow areas in Great Sandy Marine Park. These are in place between 15 October and 30 April, to protect turtles congregating in their critical seasonal habitat areas.

These areas include:

  • the Bundaberg coast, to protect the turtles associated with the Mon Repos turtle rookery, extending 300m from the shoreline between Elliott Heads and Burnett Heads
  • along the Sandy Cape coast off K’gari (Fraser Island), extending 500m from the shoreline between Sandy Cape and Rooney Point.

Skippers travelling through Go Slow areas must operate their boats ‘off the plane’, and are not allowed to operate boats in a manner that would reasonably be expected to result in striking a turtle or dugong.

Anyone who comes across injured, stranded or dead marine wildlife should report it by calling 1300 130 372.