Map showing 5 knot speed limit zones.

Map showing 5 knot speed limit zones.

Port Authority wants boaters to be more aware of speed limits

The Prince Rupert Port Authority is launching a campaign this summer to increase safety in the harbour while there are many extra vessels.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority is launching a new campaign to remind boaters that just because they’re not on a road, doesn’t mean they don’t have to obey the speed limit.

The port is working with the RCMP, DFO and transport Canada to increase their presence on the water for the rest of the summer. The port authority’s patrol boat, the Charles Hays, will have its operating hours extended.

They will also be putting up new signs at various locations around the harbour to tell boaters what the speed limits are. For instance, signs will be put up at the Rushbrook and Port Edward boat launches so that people will know what the speed limit is before they even hit the water.

There are plenty existing signs in the harbour that advise boaters of speed limits and hazards and which are in need of replacing, this is something the port will also be addressing.

“Our safety campaign this summer is focused on increasing public knowledge and awareness around the numerous speed zones that exist in the Prince Rupert Harbour, and the reason for their existence,” says the port authority’s harbour master, Gary Paulson.

The reason for the speed limits is reduce the wake of boats and ships in sensitive areas of the harbour.

“The wake created by boats travelling too fast is hazardous to other vessels and waterfront properties. The Prince Rupert Yacht Club and Metlakatla dock are both prime examples of places where speed and wake need to be reduced to ensure public safety — and to prevent damage to the vessels and infrastructure that exist in those locations,” says Paulson.

There are a couple places around the harbour where vessels cannot go any faster than 5 knots (or 9.3 kilometres per hour): immediately offshore from the Prince Rupert waterfront, Porpoise Harbour, in front of Metlakatla village, and around the Digby Island airport dock.