Excess seaweed in Adelaide Shores Boat Harbour at West Beach

Anglers and sailors say authorities need to be better prepared to deal with masses of seaweed at Adelaide Shores boat ramp which caused delays and potentially put lives at risk.

They have called on the State Government to act and take over the… responsibility for maintaining the popular boat launching site. The ramp is also used for SA Sea Rescue boats, which have diverted crews to O’Sullivan Beach at least twice in the past two weeks. Fishermen have waited up to an hour to launch and retrieve boats.

The West Beach ramp is maintained by Adelaide Shores. But Opposition Emergency Services spokesman Duncan McFetridge says it should be a State Government responsibility.

“Lives could be at risk and that’s not exaggerating,” he said.

“It’s a vital facility for marine rescue … (and) if there was an aircraft to come down in the gulf, the airport fire and rescue would be using that (ramp).

“This is a recurring issue that has to be managed and to expect Adelaide Shores to do it, I think, is a bit much.”

Emergency Services Minister Tony Piccolo said SA Sea Rescue advised him it was able to launch and retrieve rescue vessels despite the sea grass build-up.

“Their ability to launch or mount an emergency ­response from West Beach was not compromised.” Mr Piccolo said.

SA Sea Rescue commodore John Burrow said regular patrols launched from West Beach earlier this month could only land at O’Sullivan Beach because of the build-up of boats.

“We handle whatever situation comes up in front of us – hot weather, cold weather, windy weather, seaweed.” Mr Burrow said.

Adelaide Sailing Club, which has winter sailing events during August, called on Adelaide Shores to ensure they better access.

“The government has given the responsibility to Adelaide Shores, but they haven’t got any equipment to move the sea grass,” commodore Mick Bowley said.

“We’ve had times when they haven’t been able to get the rescue boats off the ramp because their motors get filled up with sea grass.”

Anglers’ Anthony Wallace and Bob Moore said they lined up for about one-and-a-half hours when the sea weed was at its worst.

“There were about a dozen boats waiting to go out,” Mr Wallace said.

“We were fifth in line to come in an by the time we got in there were another ten boats lined up behind us.”

Adelaide Shores blamed the delays on frequent winter storms.

“An excavator was contracted to further clear seagrass from the ramp area during low tide on Sunday and Monday,” an Adelaide Shores spokesperson said.

The Environment Department dredges the harbour after being contacted by Adelaide Shores.

Photo caption: West Beach local Bob Moore was unable to get his boat out due to a build up of seaweed at the boat ramp earlier this month.

View original article at: Excess seaweed in Adelaide Shores Boat Harbour at West Beach

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