50 meter advice

 Morning All,

ive spent a few hours on  the net and cant seem to really find a concrete answer. Yesturday a mate and I went for a Dive in Lonreach bay, in the interst of not dropping anchor on the reef and killing hte joint we droped on the sand a little further out. plan was to follow the anchor chain and we wwould end up at the reef, look around within close proximity of the anchor and return underwater to the boat. this was all in 8-12 meters so more than deep enough. Anway on our return my Deck Biatch mentioned fisheries had come over and mentioned we were 250+ meteres from our dive flag. when we were back onboard they retuend with the same story (although it was now over 400 meter.)

we were trying to do the right thing and not drop on reef, we had a flag up, we had a person onboard still. now i can see their point with about 1000 boats zig zaging all over the place around rotto, but i cant find anythign about being able to fine me $200 for breachign the 50 meter perimiter.  i do know as skippers your 'supposed' to stay outside of hte 50 meter perimiter, however as a diver if we do that i'll never see anything. Plus, a fine really? from fisheries? i do have my dive ticket (got it about 15 years ago) and apparently i should know this and its a fineable offence?

im interested in any online documentation to back this up, as most of my dives are dropping the anchor in sand more than 50 meters from our intended dive site.  i'll happily stand corrected, but i have my doubts, and can fisheries really hand out such fines? isnt that water police job? 


thanks in advance


scotto's picture

Posts: 2153

Date Joined: 21/04/08

you got fined??

Mon, 2017-01-16 08:06

tell them to get stuffed.

first I've ever heard of someone getting fined for that! on the surface, its a "precautionary" thing, ie: stay 50m clear, unless you cant do so, then go as slow as possible within.

secondly, even if it was a thing, that would be a DOT thing, not fisheries aye?

thirdly (again, IF it is an actual thing), how do they know it was you, and not some other divers? did they dive down and get your ID?

I know of a diver that was spearing at the FADS, complete with a dive flag, and was within his 50m zone when he was hit by a large boat, which chopped him up good and proper. he is lucky to be alive. he took the boat owner to court over the fact he was injured, and the boat not only didn't avoid the zone, but didn't even slow down (he was trolling). the diver lost the case, and I am pretty sure it was due to the dive flag rule not being enforceable.

luke george's picture

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Wow what a joke, looks like

Mon, 2017-01-16 08:32

Wow what a joke, looks like revenue raising is this summers objective

dumper's picture

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Date Joined: 03/04/08

 So they break the fifty

Mon, 2017-01-16 08:35

 So they break the fifty metre rule to fine you for something they can only presume you were doing wrong? Shouldn't they be the ones receiving the fine?

rigpig's picture

Posts: 474

Date Joined: 21/11/12


Mon, 2017-03-13 08:43

 very nice. didnt think of that angle when I was reading the post..

Auslobster's picture

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Date Joined: 03/05/08

Liability issue.

Mon, 2017-01-16 08:50

 If a diver were to be injured by a boat outside the 50m arc, I would think the only problem would be with the insurance. 

If putting oneself at greater risk by going outside the 50m is a finable offence, then we should be fined for going in the water in the first place! 

scotto's picture

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Date Joined: 21/04/08


Mon, 2017-01-16 09:31

its probably the same fuck-wit fisheries officer that nabbed phantomcat with the crays...

Cheeto's picture

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Date Joined: 14/04/14

 righto guys, so im not going

Mon, 2017-01-16 10:09

 righto guys, so im not going stupid. i played nice, as he let me off with a warning (and he really caught me off guard with this whole concept), but i was really really close to giving him attidude back. only thing stopping me is being identified every time i hit the water. back in the day i had a shitty attiude with cops and after a while i was getting pulled over for all sorts of shit. 

Dumper your completly right, while we were under they came up to my boat and spoke to my deck biatch, so yep, thye were within the 50 meters i'd guesss. secondly thirdly and all of hte above, scotto your correct, they 'followed our bubbles' but did so from 500 meters away (atleast) so a lot of assumptions in hind sight. i'd guess its a DOT thing for sure, and ive only ever known it to be boats stay away, as a precaution, not divers.  weird rule, enforeced by fisheries makes no sense!

He did drop a pot in the water 5 minutes before we went under, we had been parked a while, suiting up etc, he dropped the pot, we put hte flag up and went straight for the same areaa he droped one....#bloodydivers :)

thanks gents, i know enough, i remember the officers face to some degree, would be interesting to see if its the same guy as Phantomcat, he made it very clear he was doing me a favour by letting me off with a warning. 


Posts: 39

Date Joined: 22/04/15

Diving near dropped pot

Mon, 2017-01-16 20:04

I believe that the department of transport safety guidelines for divers suggest that divers should not encroach on dropped pots or lines.

I don't know exactly what happened, but I'm just playing Devil's Advocate here and if I was a Fisheries officer dropping pots and I saw some divers 100m+ away swim over towards where I had just dropped pot[s]/fishing gear, I would be a little annoyed and looking for a technicality to warn or charge them with.

Let's just say, if I stopped my boat 100m+ away from another boat. They then proceed to put up a dive flag, go diving and I can see their divers air bubbles within 50m of my boat ... don't start crying when I start dropping large leads and sharp hooks on top of you.

Meeuwissen's picture

Posts: 528

Date Joined: 29/03/13

if he did give you a fine

Mon, 2017-01-16 11:48

tell them you'll see them in court and watch them let you off.

the amount of rules that are made up is becoming a joke


Stay salty

Gav475's picture

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Date Joined: 16/11/11


Mon, 2017-01-16 12:14

 if it is an official caution it should state offence persuant to section bla bla of the bla bla act. Look that section up and see what it says. If not contact fisheries direct to find out. Sounds like a load of crap to me and more a case of a water traffic nazi using his authorittarr.

Posts: 93

Date Joined: 07/12/15

50m doesn't apply to divers

Mon, 2017-01-16 12:57

As far as i know:

1. As a diver you can go wherever you want

2. 50m applies to skippers of other vessels

3. DoT are responsible for vessel compliance

Very strange case IMO. Hope it isn't a power tripping fisheries officer.  Only takes one to tarnish the good job the others do.  Good job keeping your cool.  Would've been good if had caught the officers name.

Buz's picture

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Date Joined: 28/08/07

Sounds very strange to me.As

Mon, 2017-01-16 13:34

Sounds very strange to me.

As mentioned i could understand if it was a caution to a boat driving within the 50m of the dive flag. But to the divers who were underwater??? Sounds strange indeed, and interested to follow what info comes to light on this matter. 


Just a thing to be aware though about the different agencies out there.

Its not as simple as Fisheries doing Fish, DoT doing boating etc.

Often these agencies Officers are cross authorized in each other legislations.

Also they are 'Fisheries and Marine Officers'. So they also do all manner of Marine legislation.

But for example:

DoF Fisheries and Marine Officers

DoT Marine and Safety Officers

DPaW Marine Ranger and Wildlife Officers 

WAPOL Water Poilce

They can all be cross authorized to enforce each other legislations sometimes.

e.g speeding, safety gear, fishing laws, sanctuary zones, closed areas/islands etc.

So just be mindful if telling one to shove off because you think they dont have the authority, because you then open yourself up to another fine of failing to comply with a lawful direction.

Cheeto's picture

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Date Joined: 14/04/14

 Cheers all,hindsight is a

Mon, 2017-01-16 19:24

 Cheers all,

hindsight is a wonderful thing, im certainly glad i didnt let go, im not wanting to lose my shit at hte drop of a hat, but we were pretty bewildered also. A name would have been fantastic but dobbing soemone in ends in crap 99% of hte time  And maybe an email to fiseries woudl be good, but as i said earleir, i dont want to make a name for myself.  

all i know is its not my lack of knowledge and it certainly isnt a black and white rule im missing, that was what i was really after, so for that thanks for the input!

Swompa's picture

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Date Joined: 14/10/12

 Remember, a dive flag is for

Mon, 2017-01-16 20:41

 Remember, a dive flag is for your own safety. Sure you did a great thing for the reef to be aware of where you anchor though I dare say the police would be extremely vigilant considering the amount of traffic.

I am aware of shore divers being warned for not having a flag though I cannot see where it is law or the proximity regulations. In Florida you need to make your best efforts to stay within 100 foot from your flag (30m)



Subaquatic's picture

Posts: 411

Date Joined: 23/04/11

My Guess would be the fine

Tue, 2017-01-17 16:04

My Guess would be any fine issued would be under WA Marine Regs 1985, Schedule 1 Item 8B based on 19D(1) of NWR 1958



19D .         Person to display certain signals when diving otherwise than from vessel

        (1)         A person who is diving otherwise than from a vessel must ensure that there is displayed at the place where he or she is diving, so as to be clearly visible to all approaching vessels at all times — 

            (a)         the International Code Flag “A”; or 

            (b)         if diving is taking place during the hours of darkness, a yellow or orange flashing light with a visibility of not less than 200 m. 

        (2)         The International Code Flag “A” referred to in subregulation (1) must be — 

            (a)         if displayed from a buoy, not less than 300 mm in length and not less than 200 mm in width; or 

            (b)         if otherwise displayed — 

                  (i)         a flag of size 6 of the International Flag Code; or 

                  (ii)         not less than 750 mm in length and not less than 600 mm in width. 



I would challenge it.......

Cheeto's picture

Posts: 49

Date Joined: 14/04/14

 Nothing to challenge

Tue, 2017-01-17 18:24

 Nothing to challenge Subaquatic, i was let off with a warning.

and i had the standard dive shop issue flag up, above the height of my boat, clearly visible. its hte 50 meter part i cant find anywhere. 

im not fazed, as i cant find anything online, and ive had a few replies now all on the same page as me if it does happen again i'll ask for more information on where the officer gets his ruling from....and try to do it all professional without swearing and stuff hahaha



Posts: 4845

Date Joined: 17/06/10

Be polite courteous and assertive.

Tue, 2017-01-17 21:17

Remember ignorance is not a defence, so in your most polite manner ask the officer to kindly tell you just where he has obtained this regulation you would like to have the exact reference so you may look it up and see if there are other requirements you should be aware of when diving from your boat.

Cheeto's picture

Posts: 49

Date Joined: 14/04/14

 Exactly Meglodon, no point

Wed, 2017-01-18 05:49

 Exactly Meglodon, no point going feral, however i now know i would have been better to ask for clarification on the rule rather than just apologise. next time (if there is one) i'd like to know where this rule exists.


Meeuwissen's picture

Posts: 528

Date Joined: 29/03/13


Thu, 2017-01-19 20:48

 just doing some night reading and found this in the report:



Our other responsibilities include providing at-sea marine safety compliance services on behalf of the Department of Transport and implementation of the Government's shark hazard mitigation strategy.




Stay salty

Guardy's picture

Posts: 359

Date Joined: 09/08/12

Contact Marine Safety WA

Sat, 2017-01-21 13:16

 There is nothing laid out in the latest in the Dept of Transports Safety Guidelines, Dive Safety, Marine Safety pamphlet.


But, that doesn't mean that there is no reg or recommended practice for this. I would suggest you contact WA Marine Safety Dept and ask the question. Their email address is 

Better to email than phone as then you have it in writing.


Posts: 22

Date Joined: 12/04/16

So I'm not the only one.

Wed, 2017-02-22 09:41

The Fisheries do a great job in sorting out the real offenders ( pulling other peoples pots, too many abs, crabs crays etc).

So why have they just started to try and play God. The list of these petty infringements is a worry and we must put up a stand for our rights. They know most people will pay a $200 fine instead of fighting it and I understand that as my case has cost me heaps ( even f I win next week in court I will still be out of pocket more than the original fine). To me its the principle of the matter, not just me but for the vast majority of cray divers.

So keep posting these petty issues.


rigpig's picture

Posts: 474

Date Joined: 21/11/12

good luck next week mate

Mon, 2017-03-13 08:50

 all the very best to you Phantomcat.. 

Cheeto's picture

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Date Joined: 14/04/14

 Hey Phantomcat,ive been

Sat, 2017-02-25 20:11

 Hey Phantomcat,

ive been following your posts for a bit, and wish you all the luck this week. im still baffled where it came from, and why. i was so shocked i got put off guard, sort of "oh shit maybe i am in the wrong?" 

ive not found one mention of this stupidity online. it'll be interesting to see if it comes up again with anyone else any time soon.

keen to hear how you get on, and again best of luck!