Albany boaties make the most of pandemic downtime

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Mt Barker’s Miles Nye-Chart prepares to launch his boat on Tuesday.
Camera IconMt Barker’s Miles Nye-Chart prepares to launch his boat on Tuesday. Credit: Laurie Benson

With so much extra time on their hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, Albany boaties have taken to the water in their droves.

On Tuesday, despite the WA Day long weekend being over, the Albany Marina and Emu Point were packed full of boat trailers.

Mt Barker’s Miles Nye-Chart hit the water in search of some squid after a busy few weeks at work.

“There was a lot of boats out, the weather was great for fishing,” he said.

“I always find autumn the best weather for fishing and we’ve been busy with other things, so it was nice to get the boat back in the water — like a lot of others, from looking at all the trailers.”

Long-time fisherman Ken Astbury, who bagged eight King George whiting on his Tuesday fishing trip, said he had noticed an increase in boat traffic.

Ken Astbury with part of his catch.
Camera IconKen Astbury with part of his catch. Credit: Laurie Benson

Albany Sea Rescue confirmed the increase through its radio log-in system, saying the past few months had been busier than normal.

“In May this year we had 293 boats log on in 18 days, and in 2019 for the same month we only had 192 boats,” Radio officer Dave Waldron said.

“On May 14 alone we had 62 boats log on with us, which is a huge amount and they range from sites at Hartmans Beach in Cosy Corner right around to Cheynes Beach.

“In the past three months there seems to be more boats logged on during the week and we believe only about 30 to 40 percent of people log on with us as well.”

Albany Sea Rescue vice-president Colin Bairstow said despite the busy boat ramps, most water users had done the right thing.

Boat trailers in waiting at Emu Point this week.
Camera IconBoat trailers in waiting at Emu Point this week. Credit: Laurie Benson

“The last couple of days, you only have to drive past the town jetty marina and it was just jam-packed with trailers,” Mr Bairstow said.

“Previous to that a lot of people had nothing else to do, lots were off work, and fishing wasn’t ruled out here in WA, so a fair few blew the cobwebs off their boats and got in the water.

“The public themselves have been very good and technology in boats have changed for the better meaning less incidents for us to respond to.

“We still implore people to log on with us, if things go wrong we can track their last position and down here we know conditions can change dramatically in 20-30 minutes.”

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