Ban Wakeboard Boats & Jetskis on the Murray at Echuca

Postby hbomb » Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:20 am

This article appeared in the Riverine Herald (Echuca Paper) today.

Member for Murray Sharman Stone wants jet skis and wakeboard boats banned from the Murray River.

Dr Stone said the vessels were unsuitable for the narrow expanses of the Murray River and instead wants users to take them to Waranga Basin, near Rushworth.

While jet ski and wakeboard boat owners flock to the Murray River each summer, Dr Stone said the high-powered vessels were driving tourists away.

‘‘I keep hearing from people that wakeboards and jet ski users bring money into the region, well I continually hear from families who were driven out of the river and won’t come back,’’ she said.

‘‘These boats jeopardise the region’s reputation as a family tourist destination.’’

Dr Stone believes more needs to be done to protect the health of the Murray River and the safety of the people using it.

‘‘Wakeboats, with ballast, are designed to recreate waves, which damage the river bank, but also upset swimmers, canoeists, fisherman and other passive recreational users,’’ she said.

Dr Stone said the Murray River communities, local government and state government needed to review river use.

‘‘These high powered vessels and other recreational river users are not compatible,’’ she said.

‘‘Echuca has a lot of visitors who come to the area to have a ride on a paddlesteamer, hire a houseboat or just enjoy the river.

‘‘Waranga Basin is not too far out of the way, there are medical facilities close by.

‘‘You could quarantine a section of the Murray River, but with so few water authorities in Northern Victoria it would be impossible to police.

‘‘People as young as 12 are able to operate these high-powered vessels and things like guards which could save these types of accidents are optional extras.’’

Dr Stone has been critical of jet ski regulation for some time, with several serious accidents in Echuca-Moama over the summer.

One young girl lost her foot in an accident last year after her uncle lost control of the jet ski he was driving and it ran over her foot.
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