Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads

5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #303510 by AB
AB created the topic: Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads
From 1st August 2017, the new 2017 Harbour Masters Directions have prohibited recreational dive boats from diving in the channels or prohibited anchorage areas. This includes pretty much all of the Port Phillip Heads areas including Lonsdale, and Nepean Walls. This will be an easy target for water police to hit, so be warned.

Nobody I have spoken to had any warning of this or had the opportunity to comment before the rules were changed. There have been a few incidents where rec dive boats have interfered with shipping, and I'd imagine this will be the justification for this measure, but it is hard to take for those of us who have been diving this area for many years without incidents.


Charter boats will still have access to these sites, although with increased reporting requirements.

Alan
Last Edit: 5 months 3 weeks ago by AB.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
5 months 3 weeks ago #303511 by bergersau
bergersau replied the topic: Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads
Just received a copy of the new Harbor Masters Directions via SDFV. Deeply disappointing and currently furious at the lack of consultation and warning of the changes.

I'm wondering if three are any avenues to negotiate or appeal for an amendment?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
5 months 3 weeks ago #303512 by AB
AB replied the topic: Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads
I'm not sure about Harbour Masters directions. Unlike regulatory changes which require public consultation before and at the Regulatory Impact statements, I think the Harbour master is discretionary, meaning not needing consultation. If this is the case, the HM can also issue written permissions, also without consultations. It is worth learning the process and building a case for appeal. There may also be some benefit in winning over the Minister responsible.

Step one, get some heads together and research the way to a better outcome.

Alan

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
5 months 3 weeks ago - 5 months 3 weeks ago #303513 by lloyd_borrett
lloyd_borrett replied the topic: Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads
Yesterday morning I sent the following request to the Harbour Master at Victoria Ports Melbourne...

To: Captain Roy Stanbrook, Harbour Master.

On what basis have you made it illegal as of 01-Aug-2017 for recreational divers to dive from private boats at Port Phillip Heads (including within the Fairway Through Port Phillip Heads as well as the area of port waters of the Port of Melbourne outside the Heads which lie beyond the boundaries of this Fairway) and in the South Channel and South Channel West Fairway?

Why have you made this change without any public consultation?


On reading the new Harbour Master's Directions in more detail some interesting things came to mind.

1. If a recreational diver is diving from a private dive boat that can meet the requirements laid down for charter boats, then why shouldn't they be allowed to dive?

2. Can the master and the divemaster on a charter boat be the same person, or not?

3. Does the divemaster on a charter boat have to be someone currently insured as a divemaster, or just someone that passed a divemaster course many years ago?

4. Can an instructor be considered as a divemaster for the purposes of the requirements?

5. Do local dive charter boats display the 1 metre by 1 metre dive flag that has always been required if they are more than 10 metres in length? As I recall, most just use the 750 mm by 600 mm dive flag for boats under 10 metres in length.

6. One of the charter boat requirements is that...
Any request by Lonsdale VTS, or an officer authorised by the Harbour Master, to clear the area before the passage of a vessel or any other reason is complied with immediately.
How can a charter boat with divers down comply with this and maintain their duty of care to the divers?

7. Where does the requirement for and specifications of divers' personal flags come from? I can't recall seeing this as a legal requirement anywhere previously.

8. What has been going wrong that required these changes? The requirements of the current directions have been working fine.

Yesterday afternoon I had a call from Roy.

He told me that the document is supposed to be a draft for discussion, even though it comes into effect on 1-Aug-17. He has also thanked me for bringing to his attention that section 2.13 reads that a ban is in place for recreational diving. That wasn't intended. An updated version will be posted ASAP. Plus I had discussions with Roy about some of the other questions I had (see above) and he agreed that some more things might need further clarification or amendment. I also pointed out to Roy that the requirement for a diver to be "attached" to a buoy is dangerous. We would hold on to the rope, but attaching it could lead to all sorts of bad situations.

I've sent Roy all of my questions as requested. I've also pointed Roy in the direction of SDFV, DIVA and Redboats. So we might see some further changes.

You can download/read the document at http://www.vicports.vic.gov.au/publications/Pages/hmd-and-port-information-guide.aspx

Best regards, Lloyd Borrett.
Last Edit: 5 months 3 weeks ago by lloyd_borrett.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
5 months 2 weeks ago #303514 by AB
AB replied the topic: Rec Dive Boats Banned from Port Phillip Heads
OK, thanks to Lloyd, Charmaine, and others, the directions have been altered from Prohibited Anchorages to Designated Anchorages, which means the walls, Ramsden, and some great site off Shortlands are still available. Designated Anchorages are further up into the bay. We have still lost some amazing sites in the channels, so there is work to do! New text as follows:

2.13.3 Recreational diving activity
Recreational diving, without the written permission of the Harbour Master, is prohibited within:
 the designated shipping channels, designated anchorages, fairways, the Transit Only Zone, docks, swinging basins, and berths in port waters of the Port of Melbourne, as delineated on charts Aus143, Aus144, Aus154, Aus155, and Aus158, or relevant official electronic navigational charts (ENCs).
A vessel engaged in this activity must be equipped with VHF radio and the master must ensure a listening watch is maintained on the VTS working channel, VHF Channel 12.
The master of the vessel must ensure that an on board visual lookout is maintained at all times.
The master of a vessel engaged in recreational diving activities must prominently display the International Code flag ‘A’. The flag shall be of an approved type and size and a rigid replica should be used whenever possible to ensure all-round visibility.
 In the case of a vessel of 10 m or more in length, the height of such a dive flag must not be less than 1 m.
 In the case of a vessel of less than 10 m in length, the minimum size of such a dive flag or replica must be 750 mm by 600 mm.
Diving at night at Port Phillip Heads and in the South Channel is prohibited without the express written permission of the Harbour Master.
When diving occurs at night the dive vessel must show the international signal for a vessel restricted in its ability to manoeuvre: 3 all-round lights in a vertical line, the top and bottom being red and the middle one white.
The master of the vessel involved with the diving activity must also comply with the relevant requirements of the Section of the Harbour Master’s Directions that is pertinent to the vessel being used for the diving activity.
Divers’ personal flags
Any person engaged in diving must be attached to a buoy by a length of rope, the buoy having attached to it a dive flag, or a rigid replica of that flag, with dimensions of not less than 300 mm by 200 mm. Divers’ personal flags are not required if:
 the dive vessel is displaying an approved dive flag; or
 the vessel is in an area in which the operation of vessels is prohibited or in which
vessels are not permitted to exceed 5 kt; or
 diving is solely for recreation and the person is not equipped with any breathing apparatus designed to facilitate diving.

Alan

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
  • Not Allowed: to create new topic.
  • Not Allowed: to reply.
  • Not Allowed: to add attachements.
  • Not Allowed: to edit your message.