Boats out and about on Noosa river. Photo Lachie Millard
Boats out and about on Noosa river. Photo Lachie Millard

STOP MISBEHAVING: Young ‘river rats’ warned

NOOSA’S notorious ‘river rats’ – young boaties who misbehave on the waterways –

can expect to be pulled into line, especially during the coming school holidays, if they do the wrong thing.

That includes calls to their parents and infringement notices.

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell said marine officers and Queensland Police had partnered to keep a close eye on the junior members of the boating community.

“Recreational boating is great fun and we encourage all generations to enjoy our unique waterways,” Mr Mitchell said.

“However boating rules apply equally to everyone on the water and the consequences of reckless or juvenile behaviour can be equally catastrophic.

“That’s why Maritime Safety Queensland has run a series of joint operations in the lead-up to the school holidays with an emphasis on educating younger boaties and modifying dangerous behaviour.”

Mr Mitchell said the operations had focused on getting to know juvenile river users and keeping a record of their vessels.

“We are more aware now of individuals involved in problem behaviour and this has helped us to come up with better solutions for them and the community,” he said.

“Over the past three weekends, the patrols have engaged with about 80 vessels, following up with calls or chats to parents of young people who’ve fallen short of safe boating behaviour.

“On several occasions, police officers have given directions to youngsters to leave the water and head back to shore and issued five infringement notices when directions and warnings didn’t get the message across.”

MSQ Noosa River marine officer Jake Hennessey said the operations had also given him the opportunity to build relationships with other departments and stakeholders around the Noosa River.

“We hope to build collaborations for the future, working together, planning together, and protecting together to ensure the Noosa River is being used responsibly,” Mr Hennessey said.

“It isn’t just government departments and maritime groups who can help, community members also have an important role to play.

“Local boaties are our eyes and ears, helping us build a complete picture of boating activity and where we can have the most effect.

“We have already had locals help by providing information and footage of non-compliant behaviour, allowing our Noosa marine officer to quickly organise a response with other local enforcement agencies.”