Water watch on at Rottnest

BOAT owners beware. From the start of next summer, boats moored in Rottnest Island’s bays that fail to contain waste water risk a $1,000 fine.

Rottnest is one of the premier attractions for boat owners and, with 16,000 boats in WA capable of making it there on any given day, the island is under pressure to maintain the quality of water in its bays.

Rottnest has not had a sullage policy in place since 1997, but stronger regulations are due in 2002-03.

The 2001-02 summer will be used as an education period for the new regulations.

Somebody caught discharging sullage from their vessel under current rules faces a $100 on-the-spot fine.

It is understood the Rottnest Island Authority is considering using blue dye tablets to try and catch those who illegally discharge sullage from their vessels.

Sullage is a catch-all term for human waste, bilge water and dirty water from bathrooms and kitchens.

Rottnest Island Authority conservation manager Claire Wright said boat owners either had to contain their kitchen and bathroom waste on board, use their facilities outside the Rottnest Marine Reserve or

use the island’s facilities.

“Rottnest Island is one of the State’s locations that is most under pressure, given its popularity and proximity to Perth,” Ms Wright said.

Royal Perth Yacht Club general manager Stuart Walton said the club endorsed the policy but believed it would be a significant problem for a number of boat owners.

“There are a lot of boats that visit the island that can’t be fitted with holding tanks,” Mr Walton said.

“There is also a complete lack of available systems ready-made to go onto boats. It will be quite an expense to install them.”

Alf Barbagallo group marketing manager Greg Ross said he did not think the sullage regulations would catch many people out.

“I think it is only the smaller and much older boats that will get caught like that,” Mr Ross said.

Barbagallo holds the franchise for the UK-built Sunseeker and the Qld-built Sunrunner boats.

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