Fishers Raise Concerns Over Boat Ramps

VRFish were at the RACV Marine 2018 Melbourne Boat Show last week, talking to fishers and boating enthusiasts over the four day event. Our members and staff always enjoy the chance to chat directly to our fishers to see how their fishing is going, what their concerns are and what we can do to help make fishing better!


Our straw poll proved to be a big talking point. We asked, ‘Do you believe that 100% of recreational boating licenses and fees should be held in a Trust Account with all funds going back to improving our boat ramps and infrastructure?’ Responses from our fishers were in favour of a Trust Account for all revenue from boat licenses and registrations to go back to fixing our boat ramps and infrastructure. After speaking to fishers and boating enthusiasts, it became clear that many thought this was already the case and they were shocked to find out how much of these funds are actually reinvested into our boat ramps and infrastructure.

The State Government collects around $27 million per year from boat registrations and marine licenses (BIAV, 2018). Acts of Parliament, including the Motor Boating Act of 1961 and the Marine Safety Act of 2010 indicate that this money should be used to support recreational boating through improving infrastructure, facilities, safety, promotion, master planning and aids to navigation. However, it is estimated that only $3 million per year is reinvested. From 2011-2016 the total collected was $132 million and the total re-invested was $14 million.

We even had Peter Walsh, the Opposition Minister, stop by our stand on Sunday. ‘The straw poll on returning boat license fee money to infrastructure speaks for itself. The message is clear and understood’ he wrote on Facebook after sharing a photo of our straw poll.

While there was one person who had responded ‘no’ prior to the addition of ‘infrastructure’, one of our visitors wasn’t impressed with that response and moved the dot over to the ‘yes’ column – now that says just how strongly fishers agree with this!


We asked our fisher’s to finish the sentence ‘Let’s make fishing better by…’ We received lots of suggestions, most of which related to access and safety.

One fisher suggested that we provide better location information on where boat ramps are, their condition, parking options, boat size limit and suitable car type for the area as an online resource. We couldn’t agree more, how much easier would an online directory be when planning your next fishing trip!

Parking has proven to be a major concern where fishers:

  • are being charged over $20 per day for parking or over $300 annually.
  • are unable to buy tickets as the ticketing machines only accept credit cards or needs to be purchased through a phone app.
  • are unable to get a parking ticket due to the reasons above or broken machines, so they are receiving parking fines and are getting sick and tired of it!
  • have limited parking options in areas such as Mordialloc and Mornington and want to see an increase in parking spaces.
  • are unhappy with the state of the carparks, including non-bitumen carparks at Welshpool as a major concern.

Our boat ramps and their facilities were a hot topic with many visitors telling us that their favourite fishing spots are needing some improvements.

  • Olivers Hill in Frankston was a common fishing spot with fishers suggesting a marina is needed, weather protection at the boat ramp and improving the ease of access to the jetty so it is easier to tie off boats.
  • Werribee South boat ramp was noted as being in shocking condition with no lighting.
  • Port Welshpool was identified as having boat ramp parking issues and is in need of new cleaning tables, better wash bays, more ramps and moorings.
  • Building a boat ramp on the Maribrynong River as proposed by the Metropolitan Anglers Association.
  • Floating pontoons to increase safety was also a recurring suggestion. St Leonards and Eildon were identified as two locations where they are needed. As well as a new ramp for St. Leonards.
  • Removing jet skis or introducing a speed limit around Rye and other popular launching areas.
  • A safe harbour at Warrnambool.
  • A breakwater at Cowes Boat Ramp as its too dangerous with northerly winds.
  • Stop the “so-called” upgrade to the North Walkerville Boat Ramp which will reduce parking from 40 to 15.
  • Liaise with Parks Victoria to put navigation lights on all the channel markers at Hastings.
  • Why aren’t you upgrading the Kirks Point Boat Ramp?
  • Queenscliff boat ramp needs upgrading for safety and practice. This fisher was not happy that they are being charged $12 for parking while the ramp is in poor condition.
  • Delivering on the commitment to improve Rye boat ramp.
  • Dredge Kananook Creek to allow for easy access and safer launching in stormy conditions.

All of these comments and issues identified by fishers are further evidence supporting VRFish’s view there should be one single expertised-based agency established to oversee, build and maintain our boating infrastructure – not 40-50.

Some other suggestions included:

  • No netting in Gippsland Lakes.
  • More stocking programs were requested for native fish such as blackfish, silver perch and Macquarie perch.
  • An increase in the minimum size limit for estuary perch.
  • A VRFish app.
  • Free recreational fishing registration for those people that are currently exempt – ie. over 70’s.
  • Fishing to be taught in schools.
  • Controlling carp in our rivers and using fish screens at Toolondo to keep carp out.

BIAV CEO, Steve Walker and VRFish Chairman Rob Loats.

VRFish members, Franz Grasser and Max Fletcher, and Executive Officer, Mike Burgess, speaking to fishers at the VRFish stand.

Recommended for you

Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our 50,000+ subscribers in receiving our Fishing Lines News delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t miss out on all the issues affecting your fishing, projects improving your fishing and opportunities to have your say about your fishery.

* indicates required
Communication Preferences (tick all that apply)