Speed restrictions and limits
Find out about speed limits, speed restrictions and restricted zones when out on the water.
Speed limits apply where high-speed boats may be a hazard to other water users. Various harbours, areas of the Port Adelaide River, metropolitan beaches and some country beaches, and sections of the River Murray are subject to speed limits.
If you intend boating, waterskiing, or using a personal watercraft in unfamiliar areas, make sure you find out about any speed restrictions by contacting Marine Safety.
Always drive slowly when visibility is low. For example, at night, and in rain, fog, mist, smoke, or glare.
Four-knot speed restriction
A four-knot speed restriction applies:
- within 50 metres of
- a person in the water
- a vessel or buoy displaying a flag indicating that there is a diver below (international code flag A)
- a person in or on a canoe, kayak, surf-ski, surfboard, sailboard, or similar small unpowered recreational vessel
- within 30 metres of any other vessel, whether stationary or underway, that may be adversely affected by your wash
- within 100 metres of a ferry crossing on the River Murray
- within a mooring area or boat haven
- to waters within a number of marinas and restricted areas throughout South Australia - limits in such areas should be clearly signposted, but it is your responsibility to know the restrictions that apply wherever you go boating
- within 30 metres of a jetty, wharf, or other places at which a boat is being launched or retrieved.
A four-knot speed restriction also applies to all personal watercraft, (jet-ski or wave runner), within 200 metres of the metropolitan shoreline. This includes restrictions between Outer Harbor southern breakwater, the southern end of Sellicks Beach, and the backwaters of the River Murray - unless zoned otherwise.
Similar restrictions apply to beachfront areas on many popular swimming and tourist beaches. These areas are generally well signposted but check with the local council about speed restrictions that may apply wherever you intend to operate a personal watercraft.
Seven-knot speed restriction
A seven-knot speed limit applies in some aquatic reserves, harbours, and boat havens and will be indicated by signs ashore or on the water.
A seven-knot speed restriction also applies to some parts of the Barker Inlet and North Arm of the Port River for the safety of all water users and marine life.
Ten-knot speed restriction
A 10-knot speed restriction applies while a boat, not a personal watercraft, is being operated by an unlicensed person - minimum age 12 years with a licensed person in charge. Personal watercraft may only be operated by an unlicensed person as part of a small vessel hire and drive business that has been licensed by the Department for Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure.
Similar speed restrictions also apply to many local areas. These restrictions are often detailed on signs located along the shoreline or near boat ramps.
There are many areas along the South Australian coastline and inland waterways that have restrictions on the type of boating activities that can be carried out. Signs are in place to advise about restrictions. There are penalties if you do not observe the controls or speed restrictions provided on these signs.