Type of Craft

      "Can't I have a little bit of Peril (Monty Python's Holy Grail)"

Extremely shallow and heavily saline waters severely limit the type of craft that can ply the Lake. These limitations include:

At lower tides high seas are non existent the water being too shallow and too heavy. At higher tides the water is less physically hostile but seas would be similar to those in Port Phillip Bay. Historically the Lake has reminded navigators that when full it is a sea. A number of would be mariners have come to grief through the use of craft of flat bottom and with little free-board that are more suited to (conventional)lakes and rivers. Craft have foundered on the Lake. What follows is a list of craft with the limitations of each in relation to water depth, health and safety.

Inflatable Dinghy

The Commodore always carries a few of these on a trip. A two man inflatable for < $40 allows spontaneous exploration of waterholes and creeks. Choose one with a large inflation hole so that it is easily pumped up with a high volume manual pump. Deflated, they take up very little room. On the Lake though they are strictly "close in" - just to say you've done it.


A stable canoe would allow short trips of up to three days, drinking water being the limiting factor. It would be unwise to travel too far from shore, say <100 metres (see above). Worth taking on a trip just to enjoy the numerous water holes in the Diamantina and The Cooper.

Sea Kayak

Sea kayakers are a tough lot and could probably manage a substantial adventure providing they understood the significant drinking/washing water requirements.

Rowable Punt

Good for a "day play" craft. Just to have a go for the glory of it. But keep close to shore as strong off shore winds can suddenly occur. Also good to take along for waterholes and rivers.


Strictly for the higher "tides" over say 3 metres as the risk of total immersion is too high.


The members choice of craft. Keel-less asymmetric hulled cats are best; even better if equipped with shoal draft rudders. The LEYC Commodore's choice is a Caper Cat which has storage for two adults for two weeks. Even longer when towing an inflatable dinghy.

Sailing Dinghy

If you've already got one, take it. You can row it in a waterhole or day sail close in on the Lake.

Trailer Sailer

Believe it or not trailer sailers have been on the Lake before. A regatta of Hartley 16's sailed in Level Post Bay in 1974 and another - "The Ibis" was observed by the Dulhuntys. Of course at this time the Lake was at its fullest. Launching difficulties and the necessary presence of a keel (even if liftable) make a TS not worth thinking about until the flood is over four metres.

Punt & Small Outboard

If you want to risk motor damage it is possible to use these down to low tide. The more water the less risk. Above two metres depth the salinity would be low enough to prevent crystallisation in cooling passages.

Larger Power/Ski Boats

Launching difficulties and salinity would preclude the use of large high powered units until the Lake is "full". Power and ski boats were operated on the Lake following the 1974 flood.