Water police nab speedy power boats

Caught in the wake - the Merimbula Water Dragons.

Caught in the wake - the Merimbula Water Dragons.

Several boat owners had an expensive trip out on Merimbula’s Top Lake on Saturday, January 5 after being caught speeding in the channel by Eden Water Police.

The channel has a limit of 8 knots but a speeding vessel nearly brought the Merimbula Water Dragons boat to grief on Saturday morning.

“Our fully loaded dragon boat, with 21 people on board, was overtaken in the channel of Top Lake on the weekend by a power boat,” MWD sweep Pat Helmore said.

“They left us plenty of space but they were speeding slightly and were unaware of the wake which nearly capsized the dragon boat.”

The speeding vessel came into Top Lake to be greeted by water police stationed at the end of the channel.

Sergeant Steven Judd of Eden Water Police said the boat was “one of several to be booked for speeding on Saturday” for which the fine is a minimum of $250 and may be more depending on the speed over the limit.

Sergeant Judd said the Water Police have also been carrying out random breath testing and drug testing.

He urged people to take care on the water, check conditions before going out, have the right safety equipment and follow the drink driving rules.

“You are responsible for everyone in your boat. Know the conditions and keep a look out for swimmers particularly,” Sergeant Judd said.

He said that it had been a busy period over the holidays so far but with long periods of good weather and calm winds there had been very few incidents.

However Sergeant Judd pointed to the recent capsize at Pambula Rivermouth saying it highlighted what could happen.

He added that a capsize at Broulee over the weekend was a reminder that things can go wrong. 

Dragon boat sweep Pat Helmore asked boaters to consider others on the waterway.

“Please, power boat drivers, stick to the speed limit, overtake thoughtfully, and be aware of the wake you are causing. It can make life very difficult for all people-powered craft and is potentially dangerous,” Ms Helmore said.