Boating at Wallaroo
Wallaroo is one of the best places in South Australia from which to operate a boat. There is a secure 4 lane launch ramp within the marina breakwaters, so that boats can be retrieved even in windy conditions with the breakwaters providing protection from wind and waves. There is plenty of water depth even at low tide, so no risk of grounding during launch. There is ample car and trailer parking at the launch ramp. Launch tickets can be bought in the launch ramp car park from a ticket machine, or a year's ticket can be bought from the Council of the Copper Coast at 51 Taylor St., Kadina.
Many boats are housed within the protection of the marina, either at a pontoon at the owner's, or renter's property, or in pens within the marina basin which can be owned or rented. The pens are securely fenced for protection, have access to toilet facilities and are within easy walking distance of shops and places to eat.
Access to the pristine waters of Spencer Gulf, offers the attractions of open sea in a more sheltered environment than open sea. There is great fishing without having to go very far, and the semi protected waters of Spencer Gulf offer fantastic cruising potential. Given Wallaroo's central location in the Gulf, it opens up access to both the upper and lower regions of the Gulf within a reasonable cruising distance.
Boat pens in the marina basin
Wallaroo has a sailing club located in a prime position on the foreshore near the launch ramp car park. The club runs its own competitions, races and social activities, and also hosts state and national sailing class titles. Larger boat owners within the sailing club are keen on cruising, and the club organises various cruises during the year. There is generally a "Tagalong" cruise, each year, which arrives in Port Lincloln via a roundabout route, to coincide with the arrival of the Adelaide to Port Lincoln Yacht race, so that cruise participants can celebrate along with race participants. Another perennial cruise is the "NIP" cruise (Nowhere In Particular), which is late in the season, and generally depends on the immediate weather forecasts to decide where it will go. The club premises are used for social functions and club meetings. A fleet of four Pacers are used for sail training. TS16s are a popular class.
Wallaroo is the base for Sea Rescue Copper Coast, which covers the area from Port Broughton to Cape Elizabeth, south of Port Hughes. This is a branch of South Australian Sea Rescue and is manned by volunteers. They monitor channels 88 (27MHz) and 16 (VHF). Once contact is made, you will generally be transferred to the working channels of 91 (27MHz) or 73 (VHF). It is a good idea to call them to log on when you go out on the water, thereby ensuring that your radios work, and they will monitor that you actually return at the time you have notified. If not, they will start calling you, and checking to see what has happened to you. If necessary, they will come out in their rescue boat to tow you back in. This is a free service, although like all volunteer organisations, Sea Rescue is always happy to receive donations. If you log on with Sea Rescue, don't forget to log off again on your return.
In addition to rescue work, Sea Rescue also run education courses in the classroom of their premises. They are also authorised to test the candidates, so you can do a radio course or a seamanship course with them, and they can conduct the test on the premises. If you pass, the radio course qualifies you to hold a VHF radio licence, and the seamanship course will qualify you to get a boat licence without additionally sitting the state government exam. In either case you will have learned more than the bare minimum, in a pleasant working environment, and who knows, one day the extra knowledge may be important to your situation? The phone number for Sea Rescue Copper Coast is (08) 8823 2468, or mobile 0427 888 995.
Sailing club race in progress
Sailing Club "NIP" cruise, Port Germein, upper Spencer Gulf
Happy hour, rafting together - Sailing Club "NIP" Cruise
For experienced boat operators with larger boats, Spencer Gulf is a fascinating cruising ground. Marinas have been built in Wallaroo, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Arno Bay, and Tumby Bay. These vary substantially in size, water depth and facilities offered, so it is advisable to check before heading off to ensure that any marina you are planning to use will have the facilities you need. However there are many sheltered anchorages around without going near a marina, particularly in the lower reaches of the Gulf. The Joseph Banks Group of islands between Port Lincoln and Tumby Bay is a favourite cruising ground for many boat owners, and some of the more southerly islands like Wedge, Thistle, and Neptune have very rewarding fishing for those capable of making the trip. For shorter cruises from Wallaroo, there is Cowell, Cape Elizabeth, Whyalla and Bird Island which provide a degree of sheltered anchorage. All of these locations need an experienced skipper with prior knowledge of reefs, rocks and shallows, but the rewards are well worth the trip.
One of the great features of cruising Spencer Gulf is that it is always possible to supplement your meals with fresh catch from the water, most commonly Crabs, Whiting, Salmon, Tommy Ruffs (Australian Herring), Garfish and Squid, or perhaps something a little bigger, like snapper, Kingfish, or Tuna. From water to table within the hour re-defines the meaning of "fresh"!
Forecasts for Safe Boating
Be prepared with accurate forecasts! Click this menu bar for access to Wallaroo tidal forecasts, Coastal waters forecasts, and General Weather forecasts. If you have a printer attached to your computer, they can be printed.
A common sight around the marina of late is the paddlers of the Copper Coast (ASA) Dragon Boat Club. They are making full use of the protected waters of the marina to practise their skills as they train for an upcoming championship. They are looking for new members to join in, and if you think it may be what you are looking for, then contact either of the following:
President Bronte Rodda at email@example.com or phone 0428 272 083
Secretary Jenny Roach at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0447 977 087
If you would like more details on what is involved, you can download a copy of the Dragonboating Handbook.
Also, they produce a newsletter, which you can download here.
Copper Coast Dragonboating Club practising within the Marina