Boaties reminded to go slow for those below

Issued: 13 January 2020

Boaties and fishers are reminded to slow down for marine wildlife after a man was fined for going too fast in a “go slow” zone in the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

In April 2017, the man was intercepted by Marine Park Rangers from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service near the “go slow” area at Tangalooma, but failed to identify himself and fled the scene.

Rangers tracked the man through his boat registration and video they had captured during the incident.

The man pleaded not guilty in the Sandgate Magistrates Court on 17 December 2019.

On 10 January 2020, the man was found guilty of one offence of operating a vessel in a planing or non-displacement mode in a go slow area for turtles and dugong, in contravention of section 45(1) of the Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008.

He was fined $487 and ordered to pay legal costs of $1,000, and investigation costs of $684. No conviction was recorded.

Boaties and fishers are reminded to keep a good lookout and “go slow for those below” to help protect turtles and dugong.

People are urged to reduce their speed in estuaries, sandy straits, shallow inshore areas and reef flats, and avoid boating over shallow seagrass meadows where turtles and dugongs forage.

Marine life, particularly turtles or dugongs, can be injured or killed by vessels when they come up for air.

Going too fast in a go-slow area can result in an on-the-spot fine of $533. Skippers travelling through “go slow” areas must operate their boats ‘off the plane’, and cannot operate boats in a manner or at a speed that would reasonably be expected to result in striking a turtle or dugong.

There are designated go-slow areas in some marine parks. Permanent go-slow areas include Double Island Point in Great Sandy Marine Park, and Amity Banks in Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Go-slow areas are detailed in the Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2019, which has recently replaced the Marine Parks (Moreton Bay) Zoning Plan 2008.

Seasonal go-slow areas in Great Sandy Marine Park 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.

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

Please make yourself familiar with these areas – details are in the marine parks visitor guides and zoning plans on the Queensland Government's Parks and Forests site.