Editor's ColumnRobin Copeland

Getting rid of mooring minders

Take a closer look around you when next you row out to your mooring. Chances are, moored nearby, there’s a semi-submerged wreck covered in white excrement surrounded by flocks of birds squawking at your intrusion into their space. When was the last time you saw it taken out?
From all accounts, there are currently many, many moorings going to waste; while genuine boat owners who actually want to go sailing queue up waiting for the much sought after swing mooring to become available.
Mooring minders are an abomination. Selfish people simply buy a derelict vessel, and, with no intention of using it, put it on their mooring out of sheer greed just so no one else can utilize it.
This vessel, which is obviously not being maintained – and the nature of her seaworthiness dubious – can sit in all legality, endlessly rotting, rusting and filling with water.
In any other similar situation that wouldn’t be allowed to happen. You can’t buy an old car and dump it in the street just in case you want that parking spot at a later date. It would be removed.
It is time to rid our waterways of wrecks occupying these precious moorings.
Compounding this is the soundness of the mooring. Who is liable for any damage done if the vessel should come adrift? The Water Police and Maritime have better things to do than chase vessels breaking free of their moorings as a result of badly maintained moorings. And, insurers should not have to accept liability against vessels that are not adequately maintained or are beyond repair and unseaworthy.
When we are awarded a mooring we are obligated to maintain the ground tackle. Why is it so difficult to coordinate mooring licence renewals with a mooring servicing document? A safety check report prior to renewal of mooring licence should have to be supplied, when renewal is due – similar to the pink slip in NSW for the RTA.
Maybe also introduce third party insurance as a prerequisite for acquiring or renewing a mooring licence.
As part of the annual renewal process all mooring licensees should be required to ensure the safety of their mooring apparatus through annual certified inspection and repair, with third party insurance protection against damage to other boats from mooring failure. If this is unacceptable, they should relinquish the mooring.
Owning a mooring is a privilege not to be abused … use it or lose it. Perhaps it is time to have another look at the re-issuing of mooring licences to the owners of such vessels.
We agree with John Vaughan when, in a letter to Afloat, he implored readers to start a campaign to ‘Clean Up Wrecks On Our Waterways’ … now!
Robin Copeland