What the Victorian Water Police say about looking after your boat during the lockdown

Published Wed 15 Apr 2020

Media reports highlight that beaches, piers, jetties and boat ramps are closed and that recreational boating is not an essential activity.  The water police understand that boats need to be looked after.  Sorrento Sailing and Couta Boat Club  confirmed with the Victorian Water Police what is allowed when looking after your boat and what “add-ons” are going to get you in a world of strife.

Looking after your boat, essential care, is allowed under the rules. The Victorian Water Police are boaties themselves, they know that boats need checking and care when they are in the water, so they also know what is not a necessary activity.

Members are encouraged to care for their boats, but that’s not a licence to go recreationally boating. Here is a summary of the Do’s and Don’ts:

DO:

  • Check your boat via the club Boatcam: Have a look at how she is sitting and riding in the water – is she normal or low?
  • Plan to regularly recharge the battery to keep the bilge pump working.
  • With the current weather, boats will be shipping some extra water and the bilges will be doing more work than normal – so after strong winds and rainfall, bring your next recharge check forward.
  • Check your bilge every time you check your boat – ensure there is nothing loose that could wash around and block the pump or jam the float switch.
  • You can check your boat with members of your family household or 1 other person – this is a normal safe practice.

DON’T!

  • To avoid any uncertainty, use common sense. The following are not acceptable reasons to be using your boat:
    • “We’re just having a beer while we recharge the battery”
    • “We just dropped a line over while we check on the boat”
    • “We’re just sunbathing while we check on the frequency of the bilge pump engaging”
    • “I’m just refuelling at Queenscliff and I needed to get some fish and chips for the trip back.”
    • “I just took it out to clean the weeds off the bottom and just happened to end up at the seals”
  • There is no non-commercial boating happening, so if you leave the moorings/marina – you’ll stick out like a sore thumb.

Not sure? – Think of what is essential: sinking boat – essential response, washing the seagull crap off – maybe not so essential.

– Australian Sailing

Still not sure? – Sergeant Mark Helyer encourages members to contact the Rescue Coordination Centre  [03 9399 7500] if they are in any doubt about what they can and can’t do.

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