Why are unauthorised watercraft being removed?
Removal of unauthorised watercraft from our foreshores was an action of the Sorrento Coastal and Marine Management Plan 2018 and Portsea Coastal and Marine Management Plan 2023 which have been endorsed by Council. 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 2023-24peak season. The program will be ongoing, with the Shire committed 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 was carried out in Sorrento, Blairgowrie and Western Rye foreshores last summer and is now being continued in Portsea. 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 began last year 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.
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 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 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 to access your mooring, your watercraft is required to be registered with the Council through the watercraft removal page on the Shire website.
Will the Shire 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 March 2024, the Shire will place notices on any remaining vessels in Portsea deemed to be unauthorised and will commence removal no earlier than 1 April 2024.
When will unauthorised watercraft be removed in Portsea?
The Shire will begin removing any remaining unauthorised watercraft from our foreshores no earlier than 1 April 2024.
What will happen to my watercraft if it is removed by the Shire?
Any watercraft removed by the Shire will be impounded and held for a minimum of period of 30 days. Watercraft may then be disposed of at the discretion of the Shire.
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 Mornington Peninsula Shire to discuss your situation.
I want to keep storing my watercraft on the foreshore. What are my options?
The Shire has 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 will the Shire manage the issue of unauthorised watercraft in the future?
The Shire will undertake ongoing monitoring and removal of unauthorised watercraft on our foreshores. If you want to report unauthorised watercraft, please contact the Shire or relevant Committee of Management.