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Trial Speed Limits at Coomera South Arm

Trial Speed Limits at Coomera South Arm

Speed management is a shared responsibility. With that in mind, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) wants to know what you think about a speed limit trial in the Coomera River’s South Arm.

The 12-month trial has been underway since July 2018. “Part of our brief is to promote the safe and sustainable use of our waterways. One of the ways in which we do that is to review fixed speed limits and change them where appropriate,” said CEO Hal Morris. “Before making permanent changes, we undertake rigorous trials to ensure our decision-making is informed by facts and has had input from key members of the community such as waterway users, other government agencies, businesses and residents.”

Provision for the trial is set out in the Speed Limits and Behaviour Management Strategy 2018-2020 approved by the GCWA Board.

Mr Morris said GCWA is assessing whether the trial speeds will maintain appropriate levels of marine safety, while minimising regulation, improving travel times for smaller boats, and addressing the problem of damaging wash caused by larger vessels.

“We’d like to hear the views of waterways users on whether the trial limit is achieving what we set out to do. The trial will run until the end of June this year so there’s plenty of time to provide us with your feedback. This feedback will help us decide whether to permanently fix the new limits, make some refinements, or revert back to the old ones.’

Mr Morris said the trial speed limits are consistent with speed limits for rivers elsewhere in Queensland:

• 40 knots for all vessels less than 8 metres.

• 6 knots for all vessels 8 metres in length and over.

Prior to the start of the trial, the speed limit was 6 knots for all vessels.

“Speed limit changes will only be made in locations where there’s evidence that a change will improve outcomes. The trial is part of that evidence-gathering process. Where a change is made, speeds will be fixed so they achieve an appropriate balance between safety and transport efficiency.’

Mr Morris said the trial is taking into consideration:

• type and level of water traffic

• character and features of the waterway

• current recreational and commercial activities

• marine industry and

• environment.

The trial’s success will be measured through feedback from enforcement agencies, stakeholder groups and the community, as well as marine incident data and compliance data, such as the number of marine infringement notices issued during the trial period.

Mr Morris said one of the issues the GCWA is dealing with is a common misunderstanding that smaller boats and jet skis travelling at faster speeds cause damage to pontoons, jetties, revetment walls and the shoreline.

To address this misunderstanding, the GCWA commissioned the commercial arm of the Australian Maritime College, AMC Search, to conduct a study into vessel wave wake. The 2016 Vessel Wave Wake Study relevant to the Speed and Behaviour Strategy for the Gold Coast Waterways Authority showed that smaller boats and jet skis produce wash of much less energy once they travel faster than about 20 knots or so.

If you’d like to know more, you can download copies of the Speed Limits and Behaviour Management Strategy 2018-20 and the Vessel Wave Wake Study relevant to the Speed and Behaviour Strategy for the Gold Coast Waterways Authority from the GCWA’s website

To give feedback on the Coomera River (South Arm) trial email or write to PO Box 107 Southport, QLD, 4215.



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