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DOT Western Australia use Radar Speed Displays to reduce wake damage on Perth waterways


The Challenge

Wakes from boats in waterways can cause significant damage to docks and moored vessels. In addition, in many coastal, estuarine and river environments, boat-generated waves are seen as a major contributing factor to shoreline erosion. As wake size is related to vessel speed, speed limits on waterways are chosen to minimise these effects. Unfortunately, these limits are not always observed, and significant damage has resulted from speeding vessels. In 2018, the number of infringements and cautions issued to offending boat skippers on the Swan and Canning rivers jumped 72% to 1,458.

The Solution

Radar speed display signs are common around Perth and have been effective in traffic calming on roads but could such a solution be used on Perth’s waterways?

In 2019 Jenoptik worked closely with Boating WA and the Department of Transport to trial a modified sign to read speed in knots. Tests showed the detection and visibility of the sign to be excellent and with speeds accurate to within 3% in an environment that sets 8 knots as the standard.

Speed sign on the waterways reads Your Speed 3 Knots

The result

Following the success of the trial, the Department of Transport purchased a total of 15 signs between 2019 and 2021 for installation on the Swann and Canning Rivers. They chose the GR33CL sign whose multi-colour display, logging of date, time and speeds and all-weather ASA plastic surround made it perfect for the job.

The signs have increased speed awareness and have been attributed to a significant drop in overall boat speeds and wake damage and data collected regularly from the signs can identify habitual speeders and problem areas.

Minister for Transport Rita Saffioti, Bicton member Lisa O'Malley and vice-president of Boating WA Kim Wilkie with the new speed display

“The safety of all water users in this part of the waterway will be greatly enhanced because skippers travelling through the area will be better informed about their speed.”

Rita Saffioti, Transport Minister