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Boat traffic plan released

29 Mar 2011

With more than a third of Victoria Harbour lost to marinas in the future, a new report is predicting a 56 per cent increase in boating traffic density.

However, the report by consultants GeoDimensions says that Victoria Harbour will continue to cope with projected marine traffic if a number of recommendations are adopted.

Private marinas are due to expand by 261 berths but the study found that this would not adversely affect boating safety largely because privately-moored boats are rarely used.

Marina managers reported that very few berths were leased to Docklands residents and that boats in berths hired by private parties rarely left the dock.

At Marina YE at Yarra’s Edge the estimate was only 5 per cent, while it was slightly better at 10 per cent at NewQuay.  The low figures are in stark contrast to marinas in Williamstown where more than 90 per cent of boats are used two or three times each week in peak season.

Nevertheless, the report says that a “fairway” system could be needed if traffic increases, whereby boats would be required to traffic in one direction only along the shoreline.

The report recommends that MAB modify its NewQuay West marina proposal as it currently protrudes too far into the harbour entrance and presents a “collision hazard”.

It recommends maintaining the full 90 metre entrance to Victoria Harbour and draws attention to the fickle winds and sight obstruction around the Bolte Bridge which makes navigation hazardous, particularly for unskilled recreational boaters.

It says 72 m would be a minimum safe entrance width and cautions that any pedestrian bridge across the harbour mouth would need to be openable, be a single span and at least 10 metres above the water.

It points out that, should the Port of Melbourne proceed with its Webb Dock rail bridge and the pedestrian bridge be built, mariners would need to negotiate three significant obstacles in quick succession.

Other recommendations include:

  • Moving Sea Melbourne west from its current berth to clear obstruction;
  • That private marinas have fewer berths in recognition of the “variable skills” of many recreational boaters;
  • That VicUrban consider leaving charter boats at Central Pier;
  • That after-school rowing is too dangerous in Docklands;
  • That public berths be grouped together and are booked centrally; and
  • That commercial activity proposed for the Bourke Dock and Australia Quay areas on the northern edge of Yarra not protrude more than 15 metres into the river.

The full report can be downloaded at http://www.docklandsnews.com.au/boats

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