PRIORITY ADVOCACY PROJECT BRIEFING: SAFE BOAT REFUGE AND COAST GUARD OPERATIONS AND TRAINING CENTRE
Safe and accessible waterways
Improving capacity to meet increasing demand for access to the water is critical to achieving safe and accessible waterways. A breakwater enabling safe boat refuge for recreational boats and permanent anchorage for the Coast Guard vessel and Water Police is critical to improving safety on Port Phillip Bay.
The Frankston Volunteer Coast Guard, in partnership with Frankston City Council, is seeking a breakwater and new operations and training centre at the base of Olivers Hill, adjacent to the existing boat ramp in Frankston.
The south east bay region is the busiest area for recreational boats in Victoria and Frankston’s foreshore has the most accessible beaches for approximately 800,000 people.
There is no safe refuge in the south east for Water Police vessels, which are currently based in Williamstown. It takes 45 minutes in calm conditions (Sea State 1) and 100 minutes in adverse weather (Sea State 4) to reach Frankston from Williamstown (a distance of approximately 50 km).
Over the past 12 months there have been 150 rescues by the Frankston Coast Guard. On average it takes an hour for a person to die of hypothermia in adverse circumstances. From the nearest and current anchorage in Patterson River Marina it takes 45 mins for the Coast Guard to attend an emergency. Subject to tidal conditions the Marina storm gates are closed preventing the Coast Guard vessel from being operational or anchored.
The closest ‘safe havens’ for marine vessels are Sandringham (approximately 31 kilometres away) and Safety Beach (28 kilometres away).
The Coast Guard building is at the end of its useful life and no longer fit for purpose. The current facility does not have adequate meeting room spaces to provide education and training to the boating public including basic seamanship, coastal navigation, marine radio and boat licensing classes.