Safe boating on the River Derwent

TasPorts has worked with MAST to develop an infographic promoting safe boating on the River Derwent.


08 March 2024

More than 2,500 large commercial vessels visit our shores each year, moving approximately 15 million tonnes of freight through our multi-port system.

After a busy summer, TasPorts still sees high vessel movements around our ports.

TasPorts has worked with MAST to develop an infographic promoting safe boating on the River Derwent to remind port users of their responsibilities while navigating the river and around large vessels.

Before heading out on the water

Here are some top safety tips to follow before even stepping foot on your vessel or watercraft:

  • Make sure your vessel or craft is in good condition.
  • Ensure you have all the required safety equipment on board and easily on hand.
  • Check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Be aware of tidal conditions in the area you are heading to.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Never operate a vessel or watercraft when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

For more great water safety tips, visit

Navigating around large vessels

At our major ports across Tasmania, large vessels are constantly coming and going. When you are planning to head out on the water this summer, please be aware of the following simple rules and responsibilities for all recreational vessels and watercraft:

  • Large vessels, including bulk carriers and cruise ships, can’t stop or change direction quickly.
  • Recreational vessels and watercraft are much smaller than commercial vessels and are next to invisible in a busy port.
  • Remember: If you can’t see the bridge of a vessel, the Master of the vessel can’t see you.
  • Large vessels travel quickly and stop slowly. Ensure you give yourself room and make yourself known by using VHF.
  • Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) are a handy tool when operating in busy waterways.
  • Be aware of waves generated by vessel movements. Large vessels and tugboats create a wake that can capsize your recreational vessel, even from hundreds of metres away.

Exclusion zones and recreational vessels

Did you know that our ports have a minimum 50-metre exclusion zone, applying to tankers and passenger ships?

This exclusion zone applies to all recreational vessels, including paddle craft, at all times and has been implemented to comply with Federal Government security requirements.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience on the water this summer.

2022 Safe Boating on the River Derwent A3 page 0001