Speed Limits

There are two kinds of speed limits for Queensland waters:

    1. those given effect by gazette notice and indicated by official speed signs (for example, 6 knots, 30 knots or 40 knots)
    2. the operational “distance-off” speed limits

Also, boaties and riders of personal watercraft must remember there are different “distance-off” speed limits —

For boats, a speed limit of 6 knots within 30 metres of:

    • boats anchored, moored or aground
    • jetties, wharfs, pontoons and boat ramps
    • people in the water

For personal watercraft, a speed limit of 6 knots within 60 metres of:

    • boats anchored, moored or aground
    • jetties, wharfs, pontoons and boats ramps
    • the shoreline (certain exceptions apply) or the boundary of a bathing reserve
    • people in the water

Even at slow speeds your boat or personal watercraft will cause a wash. Look behind at your wash and be aware of the impact this can have on other boats, pontoons, people in the water or the shore. Travelling at the speed shown on a speed sign does not guarantee you are not causing excessive or damaging wash.

When navigating near, in or through a mooring area, navigate slowly and keep wash to a minimum and keep a lookout for people in the water, small dinghies and trailing ropes.

Check the gazetted speed limits in Queensland.



The Speed Limits and Behaviour Management Strategy 2018-2020 was approved by the GCWA Board in December 2017. You can find the Strategy here

The Strategy builds upon earlier community consultation and stakeholder engagement, providing a framework for good regulatory decision-making for speed limits.  The Strategy also provides a more simplified approach, making it easier for everyone to understand the rules around speed and behaviour on our waterways.

The Strategy sets out a number of priorities and actions in line with GCWA’s overarching vision of Sustain, Promote and Enhance.

Also included, is the guide called Who’s Who in the Blue, a handy reference that clearly sets out which agencies have responsibilities for various speed limit, operator behaviour and other waterways matters across Gold Coast waterways.



We appreciate that speeding is an important issue. Water Police and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol have been set up to enforce speeding and other unsafe on-water behavior.

Speeding boats can be reported to the Water Police through Policelink, either online at: www.police.qld.gov.au/apps/reports/hoonOnline or by calling 131 444. The Water Police are happy to take your report and give you an email address if you would like to send in photos or videos.

Alternatively, please contact Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol on 13 25 23.

Check out Who’s Who in the Blue for more information.

Last updated: 4 September 2020