Boating Regulations and River Etiquette

  • A current boat licence is required.
  • All boat operators are required to have a Skippers Licence.
  • Boats and skippers will be checked regularly to ensure compliance with the Municipal By-laws.
  • Regularly inspect your safety equipment in your capsize kit and always have it available on board your boat.
  • Note that the marker buoys in the River are for guidance only and all users of the River must exercise due care when navigating on the River.
  • Keep just to the right of the centre of the river at all times.
  • Always turn anti-clockwise when making u-turns.
  • Operate your boat responsibly at all times with due consideration for houses, jetties, small craft and other users of the river with special attention to disturbance and damage that your wake may cause.
  • Noise: Have as much fun as you like without negatively impacting on the privacy and tranquility of others.
  • Please be considerate when playing music on your boat. Sound travels far over the water.
  • Alcohol: Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, whether on the road or on the water.
  • Remember that when approaching an oncoming boat you must pass with the oncoming boat on your port (left) side, i.e. when traveling on the river keep right.
  • When overtaking another boat on the river please do so on their port side.
  • Ensure, especially when passing a smaller or stationary boat on the river that your wake does not cause a danger to the other boat.
  • Remember – to avoid a collision a motor boat must give right of way to all other craft types and a rowing boat or canoe gives way to a sailing boat.
  • Be aware of swimmers at all times on the river but especially when approaching jetties, when speed must be reduced.
  • Keep at least 30 meters from the river bank when in motion (other than when idling) in order to preserve the banks and boats moored at jetties.
  • When approaching the river bank do so slowly.
  • When out at sea remember you may not approach closer than 300 m to a whale.

Rules for Skiing and Wakeboarding


  • Water skiers should keep more than 10 metres from the bank and jetties in order to minimize damage to the banks and property. We believe the distance should be greater – where the river is less than 30 metres wide, boaters are advised to proceed at minimum speed and use the centre line of the river.
  • Every boat pulling a skier or wakeboarder is required by law to have an observer on board and red flagObey the “red flag” rules.
  • Ensure all hand signals are known and understood.
  • No modifications to vessels are permitted for wakeboarding that may cause additional displacement or wave amplitude, resulting in damage to banks and jetties.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE LATEST SWELLENDAM AND HESSEQUA MUNICIPAL BOATING BY- LAWS.

Overtaking another vessel:

Passing another vessel: