Boat Start & Finish Procedures

Launching your Vessel

Event morning can be very busy at the boat ramps close to the event, especially the Leeuwin Boat Ramp. Make sure to have a plan in place that will ensure you have adequate time to launch your boat and get t the event before your swimmers start time. If you’re planning on launching in the morning, we recommend using quieter ramps such as Woodman Point Boat Ramp, which has much larger facilities compared to Leeuwin and a lot of free parking, or Hillary’s Boat Harbour you live North of the River.

Alternatively, you may consider mooring/anchoring your vessel overnight (possibly sleeping on your boat so you’re ready to go bright and early in the morning). If you’re thinking about mooring in the river or anchoring in the ocean, make sure to consider:

  • Vessels cannot be anchored in a fairway or channel.
  • A vessel cannot be anchored in a mooring area for more than 6 hours if left unattended, a mooring control area is an area where moorings are present.
  • The Department of Transport has white courtesy moorings throughout the river which can be used, but they cannot be moored to for more than 4 hours between 7am and 7pm. They are however permitted to be moored to for a long as someone wants from 7pm-7am. DBCA also have a similar system in place but they have Red moorings, the same rules apply to these.
  • At no point is a vessel allowed to attach to a yellow mooring without the approval of the mooring holder, these are private moorings and any unauthorised use can result in prosecution.
  • Do not anchor in seagrass areas to stop the destruction of this precious environment.
  • It is prohibited to attach vessels to trees along the river bank.
  • Vessels need to be adequately lit if they are going to be anchored overnight, an all-round white light needs to be visible at all times.
  • Vessels who wish to anchor in the open ocean or areas outside of the river need to follow the vessel lighting requirements (all-round white light at all times) and ensure they are not anchored in a fairway or channel.

Starting Procedure

As soon as your boat hits the water, make sure you turn on your marine radio and listen for announcements from the Boat Coordinator on marine radio VHF Channel 74.

45 minutes before your swimmer’s allocated wave start, you should be waiting outside of the Start Channel (north of the northern boundary or south of the southern boundary). Please refer to the Start Channel Map. The Boat Coordinator will let you know (via VHF Channel 74) when you can move towards the Start Channel. You must remain at least 1000m from the shore.

Remember, you do not need to log on with Channel Swim Base (VHF 74) at the beginning of the event. You also do not need to log on with Fremantle Sea Rescue (VHF 73) before the event, however, you can use VHF 73 to test your marine radio. You also don’t need to contact Channel Swim Base when you meet up with your swimmer (unless you have previously advised Channel Swim Base that you’re unable to locate your swimmer).

Please Note

You’re not allowed to anchor while waiting to be called into the Start Channel.

At the Finish Line

Rottnest Channel Swim day is one of the busiest and most demanding days of the boating year. To manage this event safely and effectively, a number of restrictions apply. These include beach and mooring closures, together with speed restrictions.

The main restrictions are:

  • boating exclusion channel leading swimmers from Phillip Rock to the finish line next to the Hotel Jetty, and
  • beach closures between the Hotel and Fuel jetties.

Nearly all restrictions and closures are lifted at 6.00pm on the day. For more information, please contact the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA).

The RIA has waived admission fees for Channel Swim competitors and support vessel crew displaying an authorised 2024 South32 Rottnest Channel Swim sticker, including the accompanying paddle craft. All other vessels entering the reserve need to pay admission fees – this can be done online. When you book, make sure you have your vessel registration and credit card handy.

Paying online allows our rangers to confirm your admission fees have been paid and will avoid any follow-up action. See more information on admission fees.

Rottnest Island Authority Marine Hire facilities are available to book three calendar months in advance. Information governing the restrictions is published by the Rottnest Island Authority here.

 It might also be useful to check out if there are any water closures.