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Letters May 2010

30 Apr 2010

Having endeavoured to get an answer, I am somewhat bemused by the apparent necessity for the Central Pier party boats to sound their fog horns three or four times whilst departing or arriving from their berth.  

During daylight hours this is not a real problem – more a minor irritant to local residents. My issue is mostly with the sustained blasts of this ear- (and sleep-) shattering noise at night – on one occasion, at well after midnight.

With the boats lit up like Christmas trees and usually blaring music from every window, it is unlikely the horn is to inform nearby shipping of intricate manoeuvres.

I suspect that most on board know the boat is moving, so it cannot be to alert passengers.

Why then? Perhaps the operators use some fancy navigation device based on reflected soundwaves from nearby buildings (should they be piloting these boats in this case?)

Or is it simply considered all part of the game? Whatever the case, I am sure I speak for many when I ask for due consideration for local residents. Cease and desist after dark!  It’s not big, it’s not clever, it’s simply a moronic disruption of local sleeping patterns.

Perhaps I might appropriately respond by locating the owner’s house and honking my car-horn outside their bedroom window at 1am?  Although this would probably be considered breaching the peace!

Deafened of Docklands (email supplied)

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  • Jeff Gordon at 6:12pm on 05/05/10

    Dear Deafened,

    Vessels over 12 metres are required by the International Regulations for Prevention of Collisions at Sea to blast their whistle or Bell when manoeuvring.

    RULE 34 - Manoeuvering and warning signals

      1. When vessels are in sight of one another, a power-driven vessel underway, when manoeuvering as authorised or required by these Rules, shall indicate that manoeuvre by the following signals on her whistle:-
          1. One short blast to mean “I am altering my course to starboard”;
          2. two short blasts to mean “I am altering my course to port”;
          3. three short blasts to mean “I am operating astern propulsion”.

    As a commercial charter boat operater in Dockland’s Victoria Harbour, I am primarily concerned about the safety of my ship and other vessels in the near vicinity. It is not always possible to see around corners and my whistle has on more than one occasion prevented a collision. I also consider the residential nature of the area and take care not to make manoeuvres that require a sound signal after 10pm at night.

    On New Years Eve however, I sound the ship’s whistle to mark the New Year after the fireworks display.

    Like many people in Melbourne who live next to Football grounds and major roads, (not to mention the Grand Prix) there are unwanted noises that have to be put up with.

    I personally think that the Charter and private vessels operating in the Harbour making typical maritime sounds adds a flavour and interest to Docklands not found in other suburbs of Melbourne.

    I would like to offer you a free cruise to come out with us on the waterways and see for yourself how beautiful cruising in Melbourne is.

    Jeff Gordon
    Melbourne Showboat

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