The city of Cockburn will ask authorities to consider a boating ban near Coogee Beach to help protect the Omeo wreck and divers.
It wants a review of the current area with a maximum speed of 8 knots between the southern end of the eco-shark barrier and the peninsula east of the Omeo dive route to 150 meters from the coast.
Removing the speed surcharge, which would be a decision by the Department of Transportation, would effectively make the area off-limits to boats and jet skis.
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The Omeo shipwreck and its path have recently become a major draw for water users.
Councilors voted twice at their May meeting on plans for installing three nearby public moorings.
Cr Phoebe Cork wanted the plan scrapped due to concerns from the Port Coogee Community Association that adding berths could affect the shipwreck.
“There wasn’t enough public or community consultation about this, and it seems a lot of the community doesn’t want those buoys in that location,” said Cr Cork.
Her motion was rejected before another option that expressed support for the moorings was considered but called for the speed limit to be removed.
“Actually, I want to have my cake and eat it too,” said Cr Michael Separovich.
“I want the public moorings to go in because there is a need for it, and I feel it would be a good thing to have a little more order with the boats coming into our beautiful Omeo wreck, and by offering public moorings, we can at least put some order around that.
“Then I also agree that boats get way too close to the Omeo and the divers that are in it, so by reducing the amount of that area of 8 knots, we can keep boats away from the Omeo, and I think away more critically of the shark barrier because that zone of 8 knots is getting way too close to it.”
The idea divided the council, but Cr. Separovich’s motion passed by the casting vote of Mayor Logan Howlett.
The Department for Transport declined to answer questions about Cockburn’s suggestions because the council had not yet received a formal request to review speed limits in the navigation zone.
But in response to PerthNow, Acting Director of Waterways Safety Management Mark Briant confirmed the current plan to increase the number of buoys remaining.
“DoT is currently looking to double the number of water buoys marking the area of closed water motorized vessels from three to six to increase safety in the area,” he said.
Despite the municipality’s position, any change to the boat zone would take some time.
According to a council report, the department could take up to seven years to prioritize and do the necessary review.
Waters around the trail – in line with the no-fishing zone indicated by three yellow buoys – and along Coogee Beach within 100 yards of the shore as far as Coogee Jetty have been closed to motorized craft since 2017, although not every boater adheres to that rule.
Last year, the City of Cockburn filed complaints about people illegally boating, fishing, and spearfishing in the area, sparking a new plea to observe the rules and signage.
The Omeo wreck was driven ashore and was wrecked in 1905, it is protected under the 2018 Federal Underwater Cultural Heritage Act and has been the focus of extensive conservation efforts.