Bid to calm troubled waters in South Fremantle

Changes are afoot in Fremantle waters.
Changes are afoot in Fremantle waters.

A NEW 150m motorised vehicle exclusion zone has been set up in South Fremantle waters, but more safety-related changes could soon be on the way for local waters.

The City of Fremantle recently introduced the 150m exclusion zone, applying it to all motorised watercraft operating between the Island Street groyne at the southern end of South Beach and the breakwater at the Fremantle Sailing Club.

City of Fremantle deputy mayor Josh Wilson, who first introduced the proposal in March, said the need for the buffer came from local community members and beach users who raised concerns about the dangers of swimming with boats and jet skis operating so close to shore.

“The local community has sought better protection for swimmers for some time and I was glad to prompt a policy change that creates a safer place for people at these much-loved beaches,” he said.

“A number of swimmers have begun to feel unsafe in the vicinity of motor boats, with increasing reports of collisions and near-misses between people and boats, so it appears logical that motorised craft should be kept well out of these swimming areas.

“The exclusion zone is really a sensible way to protect people in the water and make it clear that motorised craft need to keep a safe distance from these popular swimming beaches and we hope this will restore the right balance, with the priority being the safety of people in the water.”

Fremantle infrastructure and project delivery acting director Lionel Nicholson said the City would police it, with the help of beachgoers reporting wrongdoers to the rangers.

The Department of Transport is also looking to implement changes in the area as part of the South Metropolitan Aquatic Use Review.

The department is looking for community feedback on 10 proposals, including a new parasail and water ski area near Woodman Point, a new 200m restricted area from Port Coogee Marina to the Ammunition Jetty and new eight knot speed limits from the Fremantle Sailing Club to the Port Coogee Marina and from the Port Coogee Marina to the Ammunition Jetty.

More changes will apply south to Port Kennedy.

Department of Transport navigational safety and moorings manager Mark Briant said the review aimed to ensure the safe, equitable and sustainable use of the coastline as the area’s population grew and demand increased.

Visit www.transport.wa.gov.au/southmetroreview to have your say.