Moorings Review - Invitation for submissions

May 15, 2014

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From the Club House - Moorings

The club has been asked to comment on a paper produced by Maritime on mooring policy. It presents us all with the opportunity to have our say in how boat storage is managed in the increasingly tight constraints of Sydney Harbour.  The two relevant publications can be found at the following addresses:

1. www.transport.nsw.gov.au/engagement/moorings-review-issues-paper

2. www.transport.nsw.gov.au/content/sydney-harbour-boat-storage-strategy

Below is a draft response. Please take a look at this material and give us any ideas you have.  You will note that the draft response offers no particular solutions , that is what we want you to do, read the material and offer some solutions.

Please click on the the link to send your ideas through - Arthur King a.s.a.p. - so they can be incorporated into our response.

Moorings Review by Transport NSW

Issues Paper March 2014-04-21

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this recently produced issues paper. The paper clearly states that it addresses moorings policy only and not the larger issue of on water boat storage including marinas. We note that another paper “Sydney Harbour Boat Storage Strategy” was issued in August 2013 it is our view that both of these papers need to be considered together.

Both kinds of on water boat storage should be considered concurrently if there is to be any practical solution to the increased demand for on water storage of boats. Storage of boats on trailers could be viewed as a separate matter.

The fact that places like Sydney Harbour have reached their capacity is clear to all. In 2009 there were 20,768 mooring licences in NSW  (Boat Ownership and Storage Report 2010 p25) the current review puts the figure at 26,646 on page three. This is an increase of 28.3% or an annual increase of 5.6%. At this rate this figure will double in about twelve years, this is clearly unsustainable.

Making changes to the current moorings policy cannot address this issue, only a combined review of mooring and marina policy has a chance of doing so.

A few figures:  A typical marina 75M x 75M will hold about 33 average sized boats using an area of 5625M2 or about 170 M2 per boat, an adjacent swing mooring area 215M x 111M holds 17 boats  using an area of 23,865 M2 or 1403 M2 per boat, a ratio of 8 to 1.

Clearly the current policy is leading to a situation where there will be either no water left to sail in or waiting lists for allocation of moorings will be impossibly long.

Some points raised by the issues paper:

1. Marine Insurance companies are now either refusing insurance or charging higher premiums to boats on swing mooring, they clearly think swing moorings are a greater risk than marina pens.

2. Mooring Minders/Mooring Maintenance, the solution here is not higher penalties as suggested but simply the enforcement of current regulations. Treat them the same way as Councils treat abandoned cars. If this requires some regulatory change so be it.

3. Commercial moorings should be available to not for profit unlicensed clubs who conduct regular racing and/or sail training. Government currently provides grants and incentives for clubs to carry out these activities, better to allow clubs to stand on their own commercial feet.

4. Boats should be allocated moorings according to their design, some boats more readily lie to wind  and others to tide, when they are mixed they either touch or need much more swing room.

Marina Policy.  The current policy allows two categories of marina commercial and private. Commercial Marinas are established for profit and allow work to be carried out on boats moored there. Private marinas are typically associated with a strata development and the pens attached to a particular unit, boats using the marina must be owned by a unit holder, no work on boats is usually permitted.

Private marinas have been created by the developer of the associated units, such developers are in the business of selling units so they are happy to agree to conditions that long term users would object to, by the time latent problems arise they will be long gone.

This distinction between private and commercial has led to the underutilisation of the private sector.

A survey carried out in 2012 (using Google Earth) of marinas west of the harbour bridge yielded some interesting results. The 393 commercial marina berths had an occupancy rate of 82% yet the 234 private berths had an occupancy of 47%. Pulpit Point at Hunters Hill was the standout, of its 114 berths only 37 were occupied for a rate of 37%.

Considered in the larger context of the shortage of mooring and marina sites on Sydney Harbour this waste of valuable marina resources should be taken into account in any review of boat storage in NSW.

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