The O'Farrell government is looking to amalgamate the resources of state rescue and patrol services to provide a leaner on-water service. A two-year strategy will co-ordinate the on-water activities of Roads and Maritime Services, Fisheries NSW, the NSW Police Force, the NSW Environment Protection Authority and the Marine Estate Management Authority. One of the main aspects would be joint-patrol trials, with agencies sharing vessels to carry out duties. Between the agencies, there are 227 vessels, 249 on-water compliance staff and 119 motor vehicles. "This is not about reducing front-line services," NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mike Gallacher says.
The Boating Industry Association of NSW has endorsed an existing proven Dealer Certified Used Boat Warranty program. This means NSW boat buyers will be covered by a 50-point safety check, plus a used-boat warranty from specialist boat insurer Nautilus Marine, when they buy a used boat or PWC from participating BIA marine dealers. In the event of a failure with the boat, motor or trailer, the customer is protected. The warranty covers a broad range of parts and components from an outboard engine's gear case to the trailer and instruments on board. The program is endorsed by the associations in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Victoria remains in the Dark Ages.
Credit dueSensible marina development doesn't just benefit boaters. Fish numbers increase around the semi-submerged structures and, to this end, NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson has launched a Fish Friendly Marinas information campaign and accreditation system that recognises operators working to improve fish habitat. D'Albora Marina at Rushcutters Bay was the first to be an accredited Fish Friendly Marina.
The Boat Owners Association has concerns about the $4.6 million state government-run Better Boating Program. The dollar-for-dollar initiative distributes boat registration and licence fees to fund boating infrastructure. Yet the kitty is being used by councils for kayaking and canoeing amenities. Of course, paddle craft don't require registration, and the BOA isn't saying such craft should be registered, but it points out that the funds raised by registered vessels were meant to be for user-paid (motorboating) infrastructure. National Parks and Wildlife Service is also dipping into the rec-boating honey pot.