Dear Minister Melissa Horne and Minister Jenny Mikakos,
RE: Major Vessel Safety Risk
It has come to my attention that under the current COVID-19 restrictions, Victorian vessels are unable to be serviced. The Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) states this poses a major safety risk to approximately 16,000 registered vessels that have not been serviced.
I understand that regular safety checks and maintenance are essential in every industry. They ensure that our industries, our vehicles and our vessels are maintained to the highest standard and quality possible. To put it simply, safety should never be negotiable.
The risks for a vessel which has not been serviced and maintained are often far greater as they are sailing kilometres off shore. Therefore, it is essential that the vessel is deemed sea worthy regularly to ensure the safety of all onboard.
To do this, a skilled individual must regularly assess a vessels buoyancy, engine and fuel tank in addition to other professional checks such as safety equipment and boat trailers. Due to a shortage of skilled people able to perform vessel services, further restrictions will not only exacerbate the problem but will increase the backlog.
The significance of maintain regularly maintenance is to prevent:
• Engine failure;
• Technical errors;
• Vessels taking on water or sinking;
• Leaking of other toxic oils, gas and fluids;
• Injury to passengers and crew; and
• Other safety risks.
Simply, vessel maintenance saves lives.
With 198,000 registered vessels in Victoria, the Boating Industry Association of Victoria (BIAV) has determined that there is a backlog of approximately 16,000 registered vessels that need to be serviced as a result of COVID-19 restrictions. This is dangerous.
As we come out of COVID lockdown and families start going out, we do not want any of these individuals to be in a dangerous or precarious situation and having to call on emergency services as result of not having their boat serviced or maintained.
I urge the government to enable all boats and vessels to be serviced as part of the next stage of COVID restrictions. The businesses that do this work will have COVID safe plans in their workplaces to enable them to work safely.
I look forward to your prompt reply.
Rod Barton MP.
UPDATE: As of 28th Septembers announcements :- boat maintenance: marine and specialist mechanics permitted to operate when required for safe operation including scheduled/logbook inspections.