Why are unauthorised watercraft being removed?
Removal of unauthorised watercraft from our foreshores was an action of the Sorrento Coastal and Marine Management Plan (SCMMP) 2018 which has been endorsed by Council.
It is also an action in the Whitecliffs to Cameron’s Bight Foreshore Reserve Coastal and Marine Management Plan (WCCB CMMP) 2019-2024.
In conjunction with Whitecliffs-Camerons Bight Committee of Management, the Coastal Planning and Community Safety teams at the Shire have developed the Watercraft Removal Program to enforce removal of these watercraft beginning over the 2022-23 peak season. The program will be ongoing, with both the Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron’s Bight committing to ongoing monitoring and compliance into the future.
Removal of unauthorised watercraft will enable safe and healthy foreshore environments and ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy these public spaces into the future.
Where is the Watercraft Removal Program taking place?
The Watercraft Removal Program will initially focus on the Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Western Rye foreshores.
However, we know the issue extends across the entire Mornington Peninsula and we encourage anyone who has unauthorised watercraft on the beach on the Mornington Peninsula to safely remove it, or risk it being impounded in the future.
How long will the Watercraft Removal Program run for?
The program will begin on 16 December 2022 and will continue as an ongoing component of our Community Safety compliance operations.
Are the Shire allowed to remove unauthorised watercraft?
The Shire will enforce removal of unauthorised watercraft through our Community Amenity Local Laws 2022 75(1) which states that: a person must not, without a permit allow, place, store or leave anything on a road or Council land unless they are permitted to do so under any other Act, regulation, or other Local Law.
Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management will enforce removal of unauthorised watercraft through their Foreshore Regulations outlined in the Victoria Gazette No.93 November 1, 1961.
What is considered unauthorised watercraft?
Unauthorised watercraft are any watercraft (such as a dinghy, kayak, windsurfer, stand up paddleboard, yacht, catamaran or similar) that have been left on the foreshore without approval from the relevant Committee of Management.
My watercraft is stored in a leased or licensed area with approval from a licensee. Does the Watercraft Removal Program apply to me?
No. If your watercraft is registered and stored in a leased or licensed area with approval from a licensee, it is not considered unauthorised and the Watercraft Removal Program will not apply.
For example, if your watercraft is stored in a dinghy rack designated for watercraft storage and registered with a boat club, it is authorised and will not be removed as part of this program.
The Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron’s Bight Committee of Management will only be enforcing removal of unauthorised watercraft that are left on the foreshore without approval.
I have a registered mooring with Parks Victoria and store my watercraft on the foreshore at Sorrento, Blairgowrie or Western Rye to access my mooring. Does the Watercraft Removal Program apply to me?
If you have a registered mooring with Parks Victoria and store your watercraft on the foreshore at Sorrento, Blairgowrie or Western Rye to access your mooring, you must register your tender with the relevant Committee of Management. Contact details for both the Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron’s Bight are included below.
If you do not register your tender with the relevant Committee of Management, it will be considered unauthorised and removed as part of the program.
Registered tenders on the foreshore must clearly display a valid Parks Victoria mooring permit reference number at all times.
Please note that tender storage is only permitted on the foreshore until a review of long-term management can be completed.
Will the Shire or Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management be contacting individual owners of watercraft to let them know that their vessel needs to be removed?
No. The unauthorised vessels on our foreshores are not registered and we have no way of contacting individual owners.
In February 2023, the Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management will place notices on any remaining vessels deemed to be unauthorised and will commence removal no earlier than 1 March 2023.
When will unauthorised watercraft be removed?
The Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management will begin removing any remaining unauthorised watercraft from our foreshores no earlier than 1 March 2023.
What will happen to my watercraft if it is removed by the Shire or Whitecliffs-Camerons Bight Committee of Management?
Any watercraft removed by the Shire and Whitecliffs-Camerons Bight Committee of Management will be impounded and held for a minimum of period of 30 days. Watercraft may then be disposed of at the discretion of the relevant Committee of Management.
My watercraft has been left on the foreshore for a long time and is overgrown with vegetation and/or buried in the sand. Can I remove the vegetation or use machinery to dig it out?
No. The removal of watercraft must not damage the surrounding environment, including but not limited to vegetation, dune systems or the waters of Port Phillip Bay. Watercraft must be safely removed from the foreshore by hand and no machinery or digging implements are permitted to be used to remove watercraft from the foreshores.
I can't safely remove my watercraft from the foreshore. Who can I call for help?
Please contact the relevant Committee of Management (Mornington Peninsula Shire or Whitecliffs-Camerons Bight) to discuss your situation.
Mornington Peninsula Shire
1300 850 600
I'm not sure who the relevant Committee of Management is. How can I find out?
Mornington Peninsula Shire manages the Crown land foreshore reserves in Sorrento. This area generally extends between Sorrento boat ramp in the west to the mid-point of Sullivan Bay in the east (the foreshore area generally between St Aubins Way and Westmore Avenue).
Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight manages the Crown land foreshore reserve in Blairgowrie. This area generally extends between Collins Settlement in the west to Whitecliffs Headland in the east (the foreshore area generally between Legget Way and White Cliffs Road).
I do not have a mooring with Parks Victoria but I want to keep storing my watercraft, such as a kayak or catamaran, on the foreshore. What are my options?
The Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight have no obligation to provide watercraft storage on the foreshore. There are a number of private boating clubs located on the foreshore that may be able to assist you with storage of your watercraft. Please contact the relevant Committee of Management for further details.
How are the Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management going to manage the issue of unauthorised watercraft in the future?
The Shire and Whitecliffs-Cameron's Bight Committee of Management will undertake ongoing monitoring and removal of unauthorised watercraft on our foreshores. If you want to report unauthorised watercraft, please contact the relevant Committee of Management.