Results of boating visitor survey

In February 2017, the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) conducted a dedicated online boating survey of Rottnest Islands’ boating visitors. A total of 2,964 RIA registered boaties were invited by email to participate in the survey (those with email addresses or who had consented to being contacted).

A total of 951 boat owners participated in the survey, which represents 32% of all RIA registered boating visitors. The overall response rate was slightly higher than 2015 (27%).

The main objectives of the boating survey were to measure boating visitor satisfaction of the destination experience including the various facilities and services provided on Rottnest Island, and to understand boating visitor attitudes and perceptions of Rottnest Island as well as boating user behaviors and motivators in and around the Marine Reserve. 

Summary of results

The key findings of the research are listed below:

  • On average, each registered boat user travels to the Island 12.55 times a year (compared to 13.2 times in 2015), and more frequently during summer (5.80 visits). Autumn is the second most popular season with an average of 3.00 visits.
  • Most boaties (62%) have been visiting Rottnest for more than 10 years, with only 6% being new boating visitors.
  • 20% went for a day trip (compared to 16% in 2015), while 80% stayed for one night or longer.
  • Almost all went ashore (89% compared to 92% in 2015).
  • Thomson Bay and Geordie Bay remain the most popular bays, with the majority spending their time at Thomson Bay.
  • The main reasons for visiting Rottnest is for leisure/recreation/relaxation (30%), fishing/cray fishing (29%), clean/clear bays (23%), diving/snorkeling (20%), boating lifestyle (18%), swimming (17%), close for a day trip/convenience/only place near Perth/Fremantle (14%), to meet friends/socialise (13%) and Island activities – walking/running/riding (12%).
  • 94% said their most recent experience was met or exceeded (on par with 2015 results).
  • 75% are satisfied with the general services and facilities. Visitors are more satisfied with shower facilities compared to 2015.
  • 70% are satisfied with the recreational holiday services and facilities. Boating visitors are significantly more satisfied with the visitor information services, customer service and both the standard and variety of activities offered.
  • Likelihood to recommend Rottnest Island has increased in 2017, with key reasons including the love boating visitors have for Rottnest Island and the marine environment.
  • There remains high levels of dissatisfaction with the mooring system.

RIA Response

The RIA will ensure a planned and budgeted approach to facilities and services to support boating and other visitors to the Island.

 In 2017, a number of initiatives have been completed, or are currently underway:

  • Beach access stairs and site facilities at Rocky and Marjorie Bays (underway)
  • Site redevelopment plans completed for Narrow neck (underway)
  • Maintenance facilitated on Rottnest jetties to include repairs to concrete surfacing, timber decking and railings and to fenders and chafers (completed)
  • Additional wayfinding, interpretive and directional (primary) signage in the Reserve as part of the Wadjemup Bidi project (completed)
  • Review of the existing mooring system used by feedback (underway)

In 2016, the following have been completed:

  • Site redevelopment including improved access and site facilities to Little Armstrong Bay 
  • Constructed beach access stairs and pathway at Armstrong Point
  • Strickland bay bus stop improvements including bins, bike rack and shelter installation
  • Stark Bay access pathway upgrade to facilities