Traffic Rules & Flow Plan - Canning Bridge

Changes to Swan & Canning Riverpark (as @ August 2021)

Department of Transport - Marine Safety

Changes have come into effect from August 2021 to boost safety and enjoyment of the Swan & Canning Riverpark. These include:

  • an 8 knot speed limit between the Narrows Bridge and Barrack Square
  • realignment and renaming of the water sport area at South Perth
  • a permanent 5 knot area near the Matagarup Bridge

The updated edition of their free Swan & Canning Riverpark Boating Guide is now available ONLINE HERE.

Click HERE for the full release from Department of Transport.

The PDF of the Canning Bridge Traffic Rules and Flow Plan can be found as a PDF document below and can be downloaded.

Rowing Etiquette

Below is an outline of key behaviours/rowing etiquette which should be observed while rowing at the Canning Bridge Precinct

  • All river rules are to be observed during peak hour times (5-7am).
  • Coaches are not to seek "good water" during peak times and are to follow the flow plan.
  • Rowers who are coming down river on the course have right of way. If you are stationary or are a slower boat you must give way.
  • Rowers crossing the course are to take extreme care and give way to rowers coming down the course.
  • Salter Point is a high congestion area so please minimise the time doing pieces in this area and please endeavour to "call out" to make others aware of your position.
  • All rowers are advised that when choosing their lines off the course they should be aware of other rowers around them to avoid collision.
  • Please check all battery packs for your lighting prior to going on the water to ensure the required boat lighting is able to be maintained throughout the entire session.
  • Rowers are encouraged to source additional personal lighting which can be attached to themselves to make other rowers aware of their postion the water.
  • If an incident or issue occurs rowers/coaches are advised to escalate to their head coach or identified club or school lead who can then identify who best to raise it with from the other club school. Verbal abuse and confrontations are discouraged and are not effective in resolving issues that occur.
  • Serious and contunued breaches of river rules can be raised to Rowing WA by contacting the Rowing WA office.

Vessel Lighting

As the mornings get darker it is a timely reminder of our obligations to ensure members and other river users remain as safe as possible.  Detailed below are the Department of Transport regulations related to adequate lighting on vessels using navigable waterways in Western Australia.  For those clubs training regularly or conducting camps this includes Champion Lakes.

Vessels under 12 Metres

Must exhibit one of the following:

  • Separate or combined sidelights, a masthead light and a stern light.
  • Separate or combined sidelights, an all round white light.
  • Masthead or white all round light shall be carried at least 1 metre above the sidelights.

All Paddle Craft


Although the Department of Transport regulation is a ‘Torch or lighted lantern showing a while light in sufficient time to prevent collision.’, the Rowing WA minimum standard on a rowing vessel is:

  • one constant all-round white light mounted on the bow, either in the bow number holder or suctioned on to the bow canvas. 


Safety / Coaching Boat Speed Exemption

For clubs based on the Swan & Canning River system, Rowing WA has negotiated an extension to the speed exemption with the WA Department of Transport (DoT).  This exemption is available below to download and it is a requirement that all safety/coaching vessels strictly adhere to the conditions under which these vessels must operate and that all new coaches are made aware of this exemption and understand its application.

The conditions within this exemption provide for coaching boats to exceed the specified speed limit (for the time of day / specific location) by up to 12 knots for the following specific purpose: "to the extent reasonably necessary to effectively undertake either an event or organised training". As at Feb 2020, on the Canning River this provides for coaching boats to travel up to 17 knots and on the Swan River up to 22 knots (please check your local DoT information for specific information). There are other conditions required by the exemption such as specific sized wording and standard marine lighting required on all coaching vessels. 

To be clear, this exemption IS NOT a permit for rowing coaches to travel as fast as they like wherever they like. For example, this exemption does not provide for coaching boats to allow crews to depart the clubhouse five minutes before the coach and for the coach to zoom off to catch up with them. This is a breach of the exemption

Operating outside of these conditions may result in a fine from patrolling Waterways or Water Police officers, or the potential withdrawal of the speed exemption for all rowing vessels.  There are many other community users of the rivers and nearby pedestrian pathways and local residents that have been considered when developing this exemption.

Rowing WA recommendations to ensure exemption compliance:

  • Annual review of speed exemption conditions with head coaches and club/school rowing committee
  • Annual review of boat lighting requirements and club/school vessel lighting policy and procedures
  • Annual review of boat identification requirements and current vessel compliance
  • Annual Pre-season coach discussion around application of speed exemption conditions (including definition of "reasonably necessary"), individual coach's role (on a daily basis) and implications for non-adherence (NOTE: don't forget coaches that commence mid-season)

It is also very important for your rowers to be aware of their coaches' obligations under the speed exemption and their own responsibilities under general boating legislation (e.g. lighting) to ensure the river remains a safe and enjoyable space for all rowers and other users (particularly before sunrise and after sunset).