In 2016 Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) commenced a review of the policy and regulatory framework governing the administration of moorings in Tasmania.
The objectives of the review were to:
- ensure fair and equitable access to moorings;
- increase the mooring capacity and efficiency; and
- improve the efficiency of mooring administration, ensuring it is modern and flexible to respond to the growing demand for moorings.
The review is being conducted in three parts:
- public feedback via a survey of recreational boaters, mooring owners and mooring contractors on specific topics discussed in this review;
- detailed examination of particular issues identified as priorities; and
- public feedback via a second round of consultation on issues identified as priorities.
The first two dot points have been completed.
MAST received 1550 replies to the survey, representing 33% of mooring permit holders.
Of the respondents 98% were mooring permit holders, but disappointingly not everyone read the actual mooring review which was probably necessary in order to answer the questions posed.
It was clearly evident from the responses that MAST could not progress the following points raised in the review:
- Should mooring owners be required to prove their mooring is being regularly used?
- Should moorings be cancelled if they are not being used?
- Should all moorings issued prior to 1st January 2014 be made non-transferable?
- Should mooring owners in congested areas be required to transfer to alternate mooring systems that reduce the scope of the mooring?
From the survey, five issues have been identified as priorities that need to be considered by way of a second round of consultation with stakeholders, including mooring permit holders and the boating public.
1. Should cruising moorings be installed in remote and pristine anchorages?
Cruising anchorages are located in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, parts of the Tasman Peninsula and some areas on the East and North Coasts. Typically these anchorages are used for casual overnight anchoring by vessels cruising Tasmanian coastal waters.
The results of the survey demonstrated support for additional cruising moorings in remote and pristine locations.
MAST has resisted locating additional public moorings in more remote, pristine or iconic cruising anchorages. MAST has previously received requests for moorings in locations such as Wineglass and Reidle Bays on the East Coast and Tinpot and Mickey Bays in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel. MAST considers that moorings in these locations have a significant visual impact and would only be used during the traditional summer boating season from October to April. Even then there would be days when moorings would not be used. Existing cruising moorings have been strategically located where ancillary services are available or where the holding ground presents a safety issue.
MAST considers that cruising boats should be self-sufficient in deploying and retrieving ground tackle so the benefit of providing cruising moorings would be low.
The cost to service moorings in these anchorages would be high due to their remote location compared to the existing public moorings which are currently serviced by contractors in conjunction with other moorings in the same anchorage.
2. Should mooring fees be calculated based on approved vessel length?
Not all respondents to the survey supported this proposal.
Larger vessels take up more swinging space and reduce the capacity of mooring areas. MAST believes that the approved vessel length on a mooring permit should be considered as part of the review of the current fee structure in Tasmania.
There are a large number of registered moorings where the actual boat size is considerably less than the approved boat length for that mooring. This results in a small vessel rendering a large amount of water unusable.
The photo above shows the swing diameter of a mooring with an approved length of 19m and the yellow circle shows the swing diameter of an 8.5m boat using the mooring. This clearly demonstrates the saving in space that could be achieved if mooring fees were calculated on the length of the vessel. The depth of water in this instance is 9m.
Should such a fee structure be implemented, many mooring owners could reduce the approved vessel length on a mooring permit as a way to reduce the annual renewal fee. This would then give MAST the flexibility to adjust the location of that mooring and/or adjacent moorings which will provide enough space for additional moorings to be laid.
The mooring permit fee and renewal fee are currently common fees regardless of the approved length or location of the mooring permit. The application fee is $51.34 which is relatively low considering the amount of time taken to process, especially in congested areas.
MAST proposes to introduce the following new fees:
|Approved Vessel Length||Proposed Annual Renewal Fee|
|Up to 7.5 metres||$ 75.00|
|7.5m - 10.00 metres||$100.00|
|10.01m - 12.0 metres||$125.00|
|12.01m - 15.00 metres||$150.00|
|15.01m - 20.00 metres||$300.00|
|20.00m - 50.00 metres||Determined by MAST Board based on type and length of vessel and the area of the application|
3. Should legislation be introduced requiring vessel owners to maintain their vessels to a certain standard?
Unseaworthy vessels on moorings are becoming an increasing issue. Aside from the visual impact of neglected, derelict or unseaworthy vessels, such vessels can also result in safety concerns and damage to other vessels if they sink or break free from their mooring. Additionally, there is a significant environmental risk with sunken vessels and an extended legal process to require owners to remove such vessels.
The survey results confirmed strong support for owners of vessels on moorings to maintain their vessels to a certain standard.
Evidence that a vessel is being neglected can be the first step in the vessel ultimately becoming unseaworthy. MAST believes that having the power to issue infringement notices to ensure that vessels are kept in good condition will assist in reducing the number of unseaworthy vessels on the water. It is therefore proposed to amend the legislation to require:
• the vessel to be kept neat and tidy;
• the vessel to be kept free of bird droppings, vermin and insects;
• painted surfaces to be free from peeling, flaking or other deterioration;
• metal surfaces to be kept free of significant amounts of rust; and
• marine growth on the vessel’s hull to be kept to a standard acceptable to MAST.
Some vessels that appear to be in poor condition are often in fact subject to active repair by the owner. In such circumstances, enforcement of the above conditions would be waived after the granting of written approval from MAST.
4. Should owners of large commercial and recreational vessels be required to provide certified engineering design with their mooring application?
The survey results supported the owners of large commercial vessels to be required to provide a certified engineering design with their mooring applications.
There is currently no maximum vessel length for mooring permits. All mooring applications are individually assessed and the suitability of a vessel to be moored in a particular location is considered as part of this assessment.
With the significant growth of aquaculture in Tasmania, the number of support vessels required is also increasing. Similarly, as marine farming is spreading into more exposed locations, the average size of those support vessels is also increasing.
MAST considers with the size and weight of some of these larger vessels, their moorings should be designed by a qualified marine engineer to ensure that vessels do not drag or end up ashore causing environmental issues. Larger vessels are more difficult to re-float.
5. Should any vessel kept on a mooring be required to be registered regardless of whether it has an engine to avoid moorings being used by derelict vessels?
The majority of vessels on moorings are either recreationally registered or hold commercial survey or registration.
There are a number of moored vessels that do not fit into these categories as they are unpowered. At times, MAST is required to contact or prosecute owners of vessels on moorings and this proves difficult if the vessel is not required to be registered as MAST does not hold ownership details. Furthermore, the majority of these vessels do not have identification marks.
There have also been cases where unregistered vessels have illegally used a mooring that does not belong to them so that the mooring owner is also not able to provide MAST with boat ownership details.
Survey results reinforced the need to consider the requirement for any vessel that is kept on a mooring, a marine facility or permanently on anchor to be in survey or require recreational registration regardless of whether it has an engine or not.
Should a vessel not fall within either of those two categories then it would be required to be removed from the water within a given time period and if returned to the water, returned in a seaworthy condition.
In addition to the five issues above, MAST is also interested in obtaining views on two additional points:
Should boats on moorings have compulsory third party insurance cover?
This would give protection to other fully insured boat owners should a mooring or boat fitting to which the head rope is attached fails.
2. Maintenance and Inspection of mooring gear
Should mooring permit holders have to prove, if required, that the mooring has been maintained and inspected as per section 16 of the Marine and Safety (Moorings) By-Laws 2013?
Your comments are welcome.
MAST will accept written replies to the second and final phase of consultation which is designed to seek stakeholder feedback on the issues and potential reforms to help improve the way moorings are managed.
Written replies should be addressed to MAST, GPO Box, 607, Hobart, 7001 or emailed to email@example.com
Replies will be accepted up to and including Monday, 8 May 2017.