Torrens Island Precautions

Port River & Barker Inlet

Torrens Island


Make sure you have the tide times and a weather forecast before setting out. The tidal range at springs is over 2 metres, and at low water springs much of the area dries or is too shallow to paddle. Tides in Barker inlet are about 30 minutes later than at Outer Harbor, and in the creeks as much as an hour later. Weather conditions can affect the tides, as noted on page 7 of the tide book. If you run out of water you will find the sand and mud very soft (and in many places very black and smelly).

You will also find it much easier to paddle with the tide than against it. The flood tide is southwards, the ebb northwards in the Port River and Barker Inlet. In North Arm and Eastern Passage the flow is to the east at the flood, to the west at ebb, and quite strong in Eastern Passage. The picture shows the isolated danger mark in North Arm about two hours after high tide: note the wake. (Santiago is visible in the background)

The flow in creeks can create some hazards. If you find yourself being swept on to a log or branches lean toward the obstacle. Push yourself clear. Lean away, into the current, when youÕre up against something and you may well be swept under.

The open areas are susceptible to the wind, and can develop a nasty chop: I have seen one metre waves in Lipson Reach in a strong north-westerly. If youÕre not accustomed to paddling in wind and chop choose a day with a better forecast.

If you want to land for a break, do so only on sandy beaches or the sandbars which appear at low tide. Avoid areas with mangrove pneumatophores.

On all occasions make sure you have food and water, extra clothing in case itÕs colder than you expected, first aid gear, towline, mobile phone and/or marine radio, etc. SA regulations do not require us to carry flares, EPIRBs, and so on, so you can spend your money on other gear.

Much of the area is inaccessible by land, so donÕt plan on walking out if things go wrong. You should make sure you have the ability to get yourself out of those situations. If it really is life threatening, use mobile phone, marine VHF or marine 27MHz to call for aid. In a channel, use beacon numbers, otherwise grid references or GPS coordinates to locate your position. You will have left details of your plans with someone at home (the Float Plan is designed for this)