The Sydney Morning Herald


Date: 05/12/2009
Words: 550
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 16
ACCESS or lack thereof is one of the greatest concerns for boaties on Sydney Harbour. It's all well and good leaving your marina but if you have to pick-up or set-down passengers somewhere else you're up against it. Tidelines has been researching this very issue and we're happy to say there's good news in the pipeline. NSW Maritime is taking over the responsibility of running the 40-odd commuter wharves on the harbour, committing some $89 million over 12 years to their upkeep. "Part of our program is to look at the options for additional infrastructure for recreational boating for drop-offs and pick-ups from these wharves," said a Maritime spokesperson. "Access remains to most ferry wharves unless signposted. But it's the skipper's responsibility not to obstruct or interfere with ferry services, and recreational boats mustn't lay alongside. Access for anglers to ferry wharves is also being restored."

If you want greater proof of the power of the on-water pow-wow then consider Zed, James Packer's Mangusta 80, that I toured a few years back while berthed at Rushcutters Bay. An interim boat before Packer took delivery of the Mangusta 165, which he has recently sold, Zed featured a boardroom a few steps below the saloon that was styled like a gentleman's smoking room, with an air of introspective exclusivity. Guests were waited on hand and foot by attendant crew and, said the skipper, it was the knockout below for clinching many deals. After selling his 165, Packer has a Mangusta 135 arriving in Sydney mid-January, rumour has it. It's a given it'll have a big boardroom, too.

This silly season is going to see a lot of proactive policing of the waterways to prevent any chance of the terrible boating accidents that have sullied Sydney Harbour's reputation as a stellar boating playground in the past. Besides random breath tests and policing of speed and no-wash limits backed by hefty penalties, there will be safety checks of lifejackets, overloading and more. But we're told one of the biggest complaints around Christmas is that of excess noise. Boats anchored in residential areas need to remember to keep it down. Sound travels easily over the water and your Christmas party can unwittingly invade surrounding waterfront homes.

We've sung the praises of Brisbane Water on many occasions but the one overriding question I get from would-be visitors revolves around the lack of water depth at its heavily silted entrance between Box Head and Half Tide Rocks. Aware of as much, NSW Maritime is now dredging 24/7 until December 21 in time for everyone's Christmas holidays.

The Invention of the Year announced on the ABC's New Inventors the other week was an ingenious safety propeller with rolled edges that, demonstrated by putting an arm into the whirring blade, will not cut, injure or kill people or marine life. It is almost identical to regular propellers in its construction, and will apparently perform equally as well, but a slight yet crucial design variation allows a person to stick their limbs directly into the propeller's way without any harm. Its Queensland inventor, Colin Chamberlain, enjoys fishing and boating in his spare time. NSW Maritime intends to trial the prop and, if it stands up to the claims, fit them to their outboard-powered patrol boats. You can email Colin at

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