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Boating Safety & Emergencies

Stay safe out on the water with these boating safety practices and protocols.

Be safe and prepared for any situation

Safety is paramount when boating around Wadjemup / Rottnest Island. Here is what you need to know to stay safe out on the water, and what to do in an emergency situation.


What to do in an emergency at sea

  • Step 1. If you are in an emergency situation, make a distress call immediately using your marine radio on channel 16 for VHF, channel 88 for 27MHz, or 4125 HF. This will go directly to your local Sea Rescue group.
  • Step 2. Activate your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Location Beacon (PLB).
  • Step 3. Call 000 to notify emergency services.
Life-threatening emergencies
If you are staying on the island and there is a life-threatening emergency, contact the emergency services first on 000, or on Channel 16 on your VHF radio.

What to do in a breakdown

Breaking down on the water can be serious, but with these clear steps, you can ensure that you get the help you need quickly.

  • Step 1. If your boat breaks down, drop your anchor immediately.
  • Step 2. As you are experiencing a breakdown, or requesting mechanical assistance, it is not yet reason to issue a distress call. Instead, it is an urgent call. Use your radio to make an urgency call:
    • For a VHF radio, use channel 16.
    • For a 27MHz radio, use channel 88.
    • For a HF radio, use HF frequency 4125.
  • Step 3. Use the Pan Pan urgency call protocol:
    • "Pan Pan, Pan Pan, Pan Pan"
    • "Hello all stations, Hello all stations, Hello all stations"
    • "This is [boat name and/or call sign if you have one]" (said 3 times)
    • "My position is ... [Details of your boat’s position]"
    • "I require... [Details of assistance required and other information]"

Staying safe around Wadjemup

Read the rules first

Download the Rottnest Island Boating Guidelines for essential reading for all visitors looking to take their boat to Wadjemup. This contains everything you need to know about boating speed limits, marine reserves, prohibited areas, and acceptable behaviour once you get to the island.

Check current boating alerts and updates

Check the Boating Alerts & Updates for any temporary notices, navigational warnings, or event updates before you visit the island. The Department of Transport also provides a wealth of information for mariners, so be sure to look at their website before heading out on the water.

Check the latest weather alerts

Severe weather can be dangerous when you are out on the water. It can include high winds, dangerous waves, and other hazardous conditions. Monitor the Bureau of Meteorology website for any weather alerts before and during your visit.

Rottnest Island Rangers

The Rottnest Island Rangers are available to help keep you safe, answer questions, report concerns, and provide assistance in managing your mooring. If you need advice, guidance, or feel unsafe at any time, you can contact them directly on (+61 8) 9372 9788.

If you are out on the boat you can use their VHF radio channel: find them on Channel 16, using the call sign ‘Rottnest Rangers’.

Save these important numbers

Rottnest Island emergency contact numbers

Diving Emergency Services(+61) 1800 088 200
Rottnest Nursing Post(+61 8) 9292 5030
Police131 444
Water Police(+61 8) 9442 8600


Other important numbers

Fisheries (Fishwatch)(+61) 1800 815 507
Department of Transport
(Oil pollution reporting) 24 hours
(+61 8) 9480 9924
Rottnest Rangers
Call sign Channel 16
(+61 8) 9372 9788
'Rottnest Rangers'


Volunteer Sea Rescue Groups

Cockburn – VH6CL
(27Mhz) Ch 90 & 88
(VHF) Ch 73 & 16
(+61 8) 9410 1544
or (+61) 409 103 029
Fremantle – VN6DI
(27Mhz) Ch 90, 88 & 86
(VHF) Ch 73 & 16
(+61 8) 9335 1332
Mandurah – VMR611
(27Mhz) Ch 91 & 88
(VHF) Ch 73 & 16
(+61 8) 9535 4789
Rockingham – VN6KC
(27Mhz) Ch 88 & 86
(VHF) Ch 67 & 16
(+61) 417 929 021
Whitfords – VJ6LQ
(27Mhz) Ch 90 & 88
(VHF) Ch 77 & 16
(+61) 417 929 021
(Repeater Ch 81 & 82) 


Rottnest Island management and administration


For queries on Marine Administration
Phone: (+61 8) 9432 9320
Opening hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm AWST (Monday to Friday)
Email: [email protected]

Rottnest Reservations Bookings
Phone: (+61) 1800 111 111
Opening hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm AWST (Monday to Friday)

Rottnest Island Visitor Centre
Phone: (+61 8) 9372 9730
Current opening hours here

Rottnest Island Authority Administration
Phone: (+61 8) 9432 9300
Opening hours: 8:30 am to 5 pm AWST (Monday to Friday)
Email: [email protected]