Waves of discontent surround Port Phillip and Western Port boat ramps

Published online: Jan 11, 2011 News Deborah Morris
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A comprehensive study of boat ramps in Port Phillip and Western Port bays has painted a damning picture.

After surveying more than 2000 boaties over two years and visiting 35 boat ramps in the two bays, the report's writers, VRfish, recommend an "urgent review" of the Australian guidelines for marina designs.

VRfish, the representative organisation for recreational fishers in Victoria, listed a number of recommendations in the State Government-funded report.

VRFish deputy chairman Franz Grasser said the critical issue was waiting times.

"The surveys indicated that 15 minutes was considered an acceptable waiting time to launch a boat or to return to land," Mr Grasser said.

Peak fishing times are predictable, but weather can make usage unpredictable, he said.

"If conditions change there will be a surge of people trying to use the ramp to return to land."

The report listed nine sets of recommendations, looking at ways of making effective yet low-cost improvements.

"The top recommendation was to put webcams and traffic counters on each ramp," Mr Grasser said.

Project member and manager of Launching Way boat ramp in Patterson River, Trevor Hogan, said the team tried to find where money raised from boat licenses could best be used.

"We looked at issues such as break walls, lighting, parking, line-marking and where ramps were slippery and needed to be grooved," Mr Hogan said.

Mornington Peninsula Shire spokesman Todd Trimble said the shire had been working on two projects to stop queuing and ramp congestion at the Hastings boat ramp - building a new floating pontoon and a traffic and parking plan to improve access.

"These projects involve lengthy processes, with the myriad of approvals and extensive consultation required for coastal projects, but the shire is confident that we can deliver improvements throughout 2011," Mr Trimble said.

Frankston council said repairs were planned.

Assets general manager John Williams said inspections had revealed no major issues with the ramp at Olivers Hill.

"Minor repairs to concrete are planned after the peak of holiday use," Mr Williams said.

"The angle of approach is very low at this ramp and does not necessarily require a wheel stop.

"Maintenance works are planned for Kananook, including void filling and repairs to strapping. Ramp stops will be considered in this maintenance."


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