Things To Do in Perth: Water Ski
Water Ski Areas and Rules Perth
One of the most popular things to do in Perth for jet ski or boat hire customers is to tow friends and family in one of the many dedicated water ski areas on both the Swan River and in the ocean near Cockburn, Rockingham, Mandurah and Hillarys, as well as the lakes.
Adventure Hire Perth Fleet
Towing on jet skis is one of the best ways to maximise your adventure on one of our jet ski hires. If you are planning on towing you need to ensure you have a 3 seater jet ski to fit the skipper, spotter and skier onboard.
At Adventure Hire Perth we have three jet skis suitable for towing. The Sea-Doo FishPro Sport is our largest and most stable ski and is perfect for all water activities. The Sea-Doo GTI 130 and Sea-Doo GTI 90 also have plenty of space, power and maximum comfort.
The Sea-Doo Spark Trixx is not suitable for towing as it is only a two seater, so there is no room for the skier to board.
What towables do Adventure Hire Perth have available?
At Adventure Hire Perth we have the following towables available
- Water ski rope suitable for donuts or with handles for boards
If there are any other towables you would like to see us add to our collection please let us know by emailing us at email@example.com
Water Ski Areas Perth
- Swan River and Canning River
- The ocean near Cockburn, Rockingham, Mandurah and Hillarys
- The lakes around Perth
Swan River and Canning River Water Ski Areas
There are five water skiing areas on the Swan River and one water ski area on the Canning River which are easily viewed on the boating guide marked in yellow as “Water Ski Area” as seen below. To see the entire map more accurately open the Swan/Canning River Boating Guide
The four main water ski areas are on the main body of water. The fifth is in Belmont, where PWCs are not permitted but you can take a boat.
There are two areas in Freshwater Bay, Johnston Street Boat Ramp in Peppermint Grove is the main access to these areas. Due to the location with plenty of land shelter on all sides, one of these areas will usually have flat conditions (unless it is generally a stormy day on the water). These areas are also easily reached from Point Walter boat ramp.
Point Walter also has its own water towing area and normally has perfect conditions in the afternoon when the South Westerly winds (Fremantle Doctor) arrives.
Applecross has its own water towing area as well but no direct boat ramp so very often families will set up on the foreshore and launch their boat or jet ski from Matilda Bay, Gentili or Deepwater Point boat ramps.
Deepwater Point is arguably the most popular water ski area, located on the Canning River (Swan becomes Canning River at the Canning Bridge!) This area is vast in size and similar to Freshwater Bay in that it has shelter from almost all wind directions, especially when you pass under the freeway between Salter Point and Rossmoyne.
Deepwater Point water ski area has two main boat ramps, one at Deepwater Point which is a great spot with the Dome café and toilets and also Gentili boat ramp to the East.
There are a few things worth noting about this area. The areas discussed on the Swan River have 8 knots (15kmh) speed restrictions marked in green, whereas Deepwater Point has 5 Knots (9kmh) speed restriction areas. Jet skis are not allowed past Aquinas Bay (upstream from Salter Point)
Please remember sailboats and rowboats have right of way over powered vessels and this is particularly relevant in the waters in Canning River.
A full list of all the water skiing rules is further down this article.
North of the River Water Ski Areas
North of the river has two water ski areas, with the main area located at Mullaloo Beach which stretches from Whitfords beach to Ocean Reef. Similar to Freshwater Bay, there is no direct access to launch your boat or jet ski so most people set up on the beach and launch from Hillarys Boat Harbour to the south or Ocean Reef Boat Harbour to the north.
Further up the coast is the Quinns Rocks water ski area. Similar to Mullalloo, there is no direct boat ramp access so it’s best to set up at the beach and launch your boat or jet ski from Mindarie Keys Marina.
There are a few things to note about these water ski areas. The green area that represents 200 metres from shore is an 8 knots (15kmh) area. Respect this rule, families are having a good time on the beach and don’t want to be concerned about high-powered fast-moving vessels.
The green dotted line represents 400 metres from shore. This means a Type 1 PFD is required as the standard Type 3 PFDs are only suitable up to 400 Metres. If you are hiring a jet ski from Adventure Hire Perth we will provide both sets of life jackets and always advise to wear both life jackets when in the ocean.
South of the River Water Ski Areas
There are 4 water ski areas between Fremantle and Mandurah plus two in the Mandurah Estuary. This entire area is arguably the best waterway in Perth with plenty to explore, including Carnac and Garden Islands which provide shelter to the Cockburn Sound from the afternoon westerlies.
Owen Anchorage is located between Fremantle and Woodman Point. Owen Anchorage was once a key part of the Fremantle Harbour but now is a water ski area overlooked by the ever more impressive suburb of Coogee. The main access is from Woodman Point boat ramp which is one of the biggest boat ramps in WA with 12 lanes.
Mangles Bay in Rockingham is one of the most popular spots for boats and jet skis with its calm waters, easy access to Garden Island and snorkelling spots at Point Peron. Rockingham is spoilt for choice with boat ramps but the main boat ramp for the towing area is Palm Beach.
South of Rockingham is the Warnbro Sound towing area where you are also spoilt for choice for boat ramps, with Port Kennedy or Safety Bay being the main ones. This area is large but expect it to get choppy when the wind is onshore.
Comet Bay stretches from Port Kennedy to Mandurah making it the largest towing area in Perth. With access from Port Kennedy boat ramp and Mandurah Marina boat ramp. Similar to Comet Bay be aware of the onshore winds which will make the water conditions choppy.
In Mandurah Estuary there are two Water ski areas. One located near Dawesville and the other near South Yunderup. The estuary provides great shelter for water sports, just be cautious of the water levels in the summer as the water can become shallow exposing rocks and seaweed.
Perth Lakes Water Ski Areas
Beyond the Perth Metro there are multiple great locations to participate in water skiing activities like wakeboarding, kneeboarding and donuting/biscuiting. Visit the beautiful lakes that Perth has on offer. Follow the link to see all of the lakes Dams and Lakes Boating Guides
It is recommended to check the lakes websites in advance as some can be closed due to low water levels.
The most popular lakes are Lake Brockman (Logue Brook Dam) and Lake Navarino (Waroona Dam). Both lakes are close to Perth, have ample camping space available and the perfect water conditions for water sports.
Lake Brockman/ Logue Brook Dam
Lake Navarino / Waroona Dam
To see a complete list of all the boating guides and boat ramps visit our Boating Guides and Ramps page
The Map Below shows all of the boat ramps and Lakes.
Click on view larger map below to easily navigate and see locations.
Water Ski / Water Towing Rules
Water skiing or water towing is defined as towing people behind your boat or jet ski, it can be wakeboard, kneeboards, donuts, parasailing etc. All the normal boating rules apply but there are specific rules to towing as well.
- Check signs in the area about which direction you should tow in. Clockwise or anti-clockwise, as well as permitted times for skiing and boundary of the area marked by buoys
- Ensure there is a minimum of two people on the jet ski or boat
* Skipper facing forward driving the vessel
* Observer/Spotter facing the person in the water at all times and keeps communication with the skipper
-Make sure the spotter can see the rope at all times, you don’t want it getting sucked up into the intake grate of the jet ski or tangled in the outboard motor of your boat.
- Ensure the boat or jet ski is suitable for towing skiers. Check weight capacity and ensure there is enough space. For example a two seater jet ski cannot tow as there is no space for the person on the water to board
- Ensure the person being towed knows how to reboard the vessel safely and make sure the engine is turned off when reboarding.
- Ensure everyone involved is aware of the hand signals used to communicate (more below)
- Driver of the boat towing must have a skippers ticket and be at least 17 years of age
- Observer must be at least 14 years old
- The person being towed should wear a type 3 or higher lifejacket
- Tow at least 50 metres from shore except when taking off or landing from a dedicated area
- The vessel landing in a take off area has right away over the vessel launching
- Do not let a ski rope trail behind the boat or ski with no one skiing within 30 metres of the shore
For the full set of rules please check out the Department of Transport website
Water Ski Hand Signals
It is important to learn the water-skiing hand signals so everyone involved has a clear line of communication between themselves and other vessels.
The skipper, spotter and the skier should learn the different signals to communicate.
Two hands above the head from the driver indicates to other vessels they are waiting for a safe opportunity to take off with a skier
One hand straight up in the air from the observer indicates to other vessels that the skier has fallen and is in the water.
A skier with their hands clasped above their head after falling indicated that they are okay.
The driver patting the top of their head indicates to other vessels that they are dropping a skier back to shore.
Common hand signals for skiers include Left, Right, Slow Down, Speed Up, Stop, Cut Engine, Back to Dock.
For a complete overview of water skiing in Perth please follow the link to read the Safety Guidelines for Water Skiing
Be prepared when going out – know the rules of the area including boundaries, direction, your water ski hand signals, the weight capacity of vessel and wear the right safety gear.
Grab your wakeboard and your mates and head to your favourite spot. Take your time and be patient – it can be hard to get going! Overall it’s very fun and a great day out spent with family and friends.