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Boating Guidelines

What you need to know so you can do the right thing when you are on the island.

Simple rules for boat users visiting the island

We all have a part to play in ensuring Wadjemup remains an enjoyable, safe, and beautiful place to visit. From correct boating safety and waste management protocol, to SCUBA diving flag etiquette, rafting rules, and even where to find drinking water, please read and remember these simple rules that apply to everyone who visits the island.

Rottnest Island Boating Guidelines

Alcohol and noise

Alcohol can only be consumed at licensed premises. Western Australian law prohibits drinking alcohol on beaches, jetties, streets, and all other areas. Visitors who disregard this will receive infringements or face eviction from the island.

Noise should always be kept to a minimum, especially after 11 pm. Be mindful of music, generators, and other noise which may impact the comfort of other visitors.


You can find public barbecues at Geordie Bay, The Basin, Thomson Bay, which all visitors are welcome to use. The Wadjemup / Rottnest Island Interactive Map shows you exactly where they are.

These are the only public barbecue facilities available on the island. Lighting any other fires is strictly prohibited.


Camping is available at the designated campsites, which you can book online with Stay Rottnest Campground at or on (+61) 1800 111 111. Sites are limited and subject to availability, so be sure to book in advance.

Any camping outside of these designated sites is strictly prohibited.

Dive flags

Dive flag regulations are in place to ensure the safety of everyone above and below the water.

All divers using underwater breathing equipment (SCUBA) are required to fly or tow the international ‘A’ flag at all times. When operating a boat and you see this flag, be sure to maintain a minimum 50-metre distance.

Also, there are situations where dive contractors need to work within our designated boat moorings. So please keep this in mind when mooring your boat.

Drinking water

It is strongly encouraged that boat users fill your water tanks before you visit Wadjemup. This helps to conserve the limited supply of fresh water available at the Geordie Bay Jetty and Fuel Jetty in Thomson Bay.

If you do need drinking water from these sources, please note that it has been desalinated on the island, and restrictions around quantities and availability apply.

Domestic pets

In the interest of conservation and safety, all domestic pets are strictly prohibited from entering the Marine Reserve. Anyone found in breach of this policy faces penalties, and will be required to remove the pet at their own expense.

Jet skis and personal watercraft

There are no designated jet ski or personal watercraft (PWC) areas within the Marine Reserve, and most bays around the island have a five-knot speed limit. You can find more information on the marine maps and resources page, or by contacting the Department of Transport directly.

Loading zones

To ensure their availability when needed, there is a maximum 20-minute time limit for all loading zones on the island. These can be found at:

  • Fuel Jetty at Thomson Bay
  • Geordie Bay Jetty
  • Hotel Jetty
  • ‘T’ Jetty on the Main Jetty
Geordie Bay Jetty
Geordie Bay Jetty

Personal property

Personal property may not be left on the island. Always remember to take it with you on departure. If you do leave any personal property in the Class A Reserve, it will be treated as abandoned property and disposed of by Rottnest Island Authority.

Rafting of vessels

Rafting of one vessel to another is permitted when vessels are on anchor, but only one vessel can raft to another at any one time. Approved vessels of up to 6.75 metres on swing moorings are permitted only where a mooring has been certified with “+ 6.75m” rating. Appropriate admission fees apply.


Dune blowout poses a constant threat to the island’s preservation. As such, sandboards and similar equipment used to slide down sand dunes are prohibited. Penalties apply to anyone breaching this policy.

SCUBA tank refills

SCUBA tanks can be refilled on the island at Pedal & Flipper Hire.


With 63 beaches and 20 bays, Rottnest Island is the perfect place for swimming. But there are some areas where swimming isn’t permitted:

  • ‘T’ Jetty
  • End of the Main Jetty
  • Between the Main Jetty and Fuel Jetty

For your own safety, also avoid swimming near moorings, jetties, and designated anchorage areas.

There may also be specific days when boating-prohibited areas are created around the island to provide more areas for swimming or for events, which will be identified by either signs or float lines.

Waste management

Surrounded by crystal clear waters, Wadjemup is home to a unique marine environment. This means that any waste from boats, whether it's from the onboard toilet or the bin, contaminates the water, creating a public health risk and a danger to the environment.

RIA has strategies in place to manage waste and keep Rottnest Island's waters clean.

  • Liquid waste. The Rottnest Island Marine Reserve is a protected area, which means absolutely no liquid waste can be discharged anywhere within these waters. This includes waste from marine sanitation devices (MSDs). Instead, store your liquid waste safely and appropriately, and discharge it at a suitable mainland facility or outside the marine reserve.
  • Rubbish. Just like anywhere else in Western Australia, littering is prohibited. All waste placed in bins on the island gets picked up by a truck, compacted, and shipped off Wadjemup by barge. This is then processed the same way as mainland waste. So, if possible, help reduce carbon emissions and carry your own waste and recycling off the island.
  • Fishing lines and tackle. There are a number of fishing line bins located on each of the island jetties. Please use these bins to dispose of any fishing line and tackle.

Guidelines for your time on the water

The Rottnest Island Boating Guidelines are 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 onto the island.
Download the Guidelines