Airboat Menaces

MANDURAH would not be Mandurah without the Peel/Harvey Estuary and associated wetlands.

Thousands of waterbirds travel halfway around the world to feed and breed here, and hundreds of people come to watch and photograph them.

Moreover, crabbing draws hordes of tourists – including those without boats who can wade out into the shallows that extend for kilometres from the Coodanup foreshore.

However, that is all being put in jeopardy because delinquents have found new toys with which to trash the place.

I do not even know if they are legal, but I do know that authorities in the Florida Everglades have had the good sense to ban them.

I am talking about airboats – and maybe that is where these are coming from (banned in America, so being sold off cheaply here on eBay). Noisier than jet skis; the airboats sound like a helicopter landing on your doorstep.

One morning recently three of them screamed up and down the Coodanup foreshore, scattering masses of birds from their feeding grounds and trampling the fragile coastal samphire.

These monstrous machines have no place in our Ramsar-listed wetlands – and neither do those who drive them.