Alannah MacTiernan

Alannah MacTiernan

Minister for Planning and Infrastructure

    New navigation markers improve safety at Coral Bay

    6/12/2005 12:00 AM

    New navigation markers to be installed at Coral Bay this month will improve boating safety and help protect the area’s world-class coral reef system.

    The markers, which will guide vessels along the recommended passage from Monck Head to Point Maud, are the latest improvements for recreational boating planned by the Department for Planning and Infrastructure as part of the move to a more sustainable Coral Bay.

    Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan said the passage through the reef to Point Maud was not currently formally marked making navigation difficult in certain conditions.

    “Although many boat owners remain within the protected waters of the reef, for skippers wanting to head north to Point Maud there is a need to ensure the recommended passage to deeper waters is marked,” Ms MacTiernan said.

    “In addition, combined CALM, Fisheries and Planning and Infrastructure signage would be introduced alerting boat owners to the risks associated with the use of the more dangerous Yalobia passage to the south and the protection of the coral habitat.”

    Ms MacTiernan said the type of marker anchorage to be used had been thoroughly investigated to limit the impact on the surrounding reef.

    The unique design of the selected markers, made of UV stabilised corrosion free polyethylene and anchored by two 300kg weights, positions the buoyancy chamber below the water line ensuring the mooring chains are tight and vertical even in storm conditions.

    “The location of each of the 32 markers has also been carefully considered and it is anticipated that all but three markers can be placed on the sandy seabed avoiding damage to corals, anchored by weights or fixed to a limestone platform,” the Minister said.

    During a site inspection earlier this year hydrographic surveyors used bathymetric data and underwater camera imagery to determine the exact location of each marker and recorded the positions on a GPS.

    Ms MacTiernan said the draft limits of the passage in tidal conditions would be the subject of special signage educating skippers about the safe use of the passage.

    “The passage is recommended for daylight use only with gazetted speed restrictions to further improve safety,” she said.

    The Minister said the installation of the navigation markers, approved by the Department of Conservation and Land Management, would begin today and would take two weeks to complete.

    People wanting more information about the markers can contact the Project Co-ordinator on 9216 8923 or refer to the department’s website:

    Minister's office: 9213 6400