Anchoring in channels

As with parking a car, you’re not allowed to just anchor wherever you like. It’s an international law that vessels are not allowed to anchor in a channel. Anchoring a vessel in a shipping channel is a dangerous activity for boat owners, as small vessels might obstruct the approach of large commercial vessels to a harbour.

Commercial vessels operate 24 hours a day every day, so anchoring in a channel at any time is highly dangerous. In addition:

  • the speed of a vessel or tug can be deceptive and it can take one or two kilometres for a large vessel to stop, even with its engines full astern
  • large vessels must maintain speed to steer, and in most cases, they must stay in the channel – it's the only place deep enough for them to operate. Remember, a large vessel cannot manoeuvre as easily or as well as a smaller one
  • a large vessel's blind spot can extend for many hundreds of metres in front of the vessel and can also extend to many metres on each side of some vessels.

Take care not to anchor in channels to avoid the potential for collisions, damage, injury or death.

Under the Harbors and Navigation Regulations 2009, anchoring is also prohibited in certain areas of the Port Adelaide River, Spencer Gulf and Backstairs Passage.

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Page last updated 18 August 2020

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