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Rottnest Island

Results of boating visitor survey

In June 2010, a dedicated survey of Rottnest Island’s boating visitors was conducted for the first time.  2,450 boat owners were invited by email to participate in the survey.  A total of 948 boat owners participated, which represents 26% of all registered boating visitors.  The aim of the survey was to investigate marine capacity issues and gain information about the needs of boating visitors which would assist the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) in providing facilities and services to them.

The key aspects that were addressed in the boating survey were:
  • Visitation levels and patterns;
  • Boating visitor activities;
  • Marine capacity issues;
  • Perceptions of the environment including crowding;
  • Preferences for facilities and management approaches; and
  • Satisfaction with the Island and its facilities.

Summary of results

The key findings of the research are listed below:
  • On average, each registered boat user travels to the Island 12.8 times a year with 3.8 people on their boat. This equates to around 46,000 boating visits during 2009-10. It also equated to 185,000 boating visitors to Rottnest during 2009-10.
  • More than two thirds of registered boating visitors (68%) stay two nights or more, while 32% visit for the day.
  • The majority of visitors (86%) go ashore during their visit.
  • The following graph demonstrates the most visited sites - Thomson Bay, Geordie Bay, Longreach Bay and Parker Point.



  • Most visitors felt that the number of boats when they last visited was not excessive. However, there was some issue of crowding at Parker Point and Longreach Bay (16% felt there were too many boats at these sites at certain times).
  • Restriction of boating movements was the main concern at several sites such as Parker Point and Geordie Bay.
  • In relation to their experience in visiting the Island:  

          o 96% would recommend the Island to others as a place to visit; and
          o 94% felt that their visit met their expectations or better.

  • However, satisfaction with recreational and holiday services and facilities is lower than ferry based visitors, and the results are detailed in the following graph.


RIA Response
In response to the survey findings, the RIA will aim to provide additional facilities and services where they are essential, subject to the availability of funds, and pursue other improvements that will ensure fairness or access. In particular the RIA has implemented the following: 

  • The number of bins at various locations such as Parker Point, Stark Bay and Narrow Neck has been increased.
  • Boating visitors can now book a mooring online which has improved accessibility.
  • Continued the refurbishment program to improve accommodation standards.

The RIA will implement the following:

  • Install a new ablution facility at Parker Point and upgrade the Narrow Neck ablution facility.
  • Additional moorings and pens will be addressed in the Boating Management Strategy. 
  • Development of selected sites with ablutions and refuse facilities will be incorporated into the Boating Management Strategy.
  • The development of a new hotel at Longreach Bay will be pursued.