THE first commercial houseboat venture operating on the Swan River has been officially launched.The houseboats will be operated by WA company Hydrocats for five years under a trial conducted by the Swan River Trust.The trial is limited to the one operator with a maximum of five vessels. All boats will be limited to the Swan River upstream of the Causeway.Initially two six-berth houseboats will be available for hire. A further three are under construction.Hydrocats will be required to submit annual compliance reports to the Swan River Trust and meet all environmental requirements or the trial ceases.Strong controls have been placedon the disposal of waste, includingsewerage and sullage, mooring and areas of operation to reduce impacts on the river and riverside residents.The houseboats will be restricted to a speed limit of eight knots to protect the riverbanks from erosion.They will have their own moorings located along the river next to public parks with dinghies provided for access to the shore or public jetties.People hiring the houseboats will be given a mobile phone for the duration of their booking and receive training in boat handling skills, safety andenvironmental care before embarking.
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