Failure to launch

Keith Alfred Adolph Blake, Ottery

I want to know why small fishing vessels under a certain length, tonnage and with all legal permits and documentation cannot launch their fishing vessels from the huge National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) station with their launch pad.

The only vessels to launch from there are the NSRI rescue vessels.

For years, big fishing vessels launch from Kalk Bay Harbour and then sail to Strandfontein Beach just behind the tidal pool and catch and harvest the fish and then go back to Kalk Bay Harbour.

Why cannot locals, who have small seaworthy boats or rubber ducks, also harvest from this fish in Strandfontein?

Launching fees and parking fees can fund the NSRI, who I believe sail on donations.

I believe this will also be advantageous to local small boat owners to also be given that opportunity at present denied them to catch fish offshore.

I also believe this proposal can be used to save bathers who get into trouble to ask these small vessels busy fishing to do a rescue if they are called upon as we all know in a rescue, call time is of the utmost importance.

Jacques du Toit, from the City of Cape Town’s environmental management department for coastal programmes and marine monitoring, responds:

The main reason why vessels cannot launch from the Strandfontein launch site is that it is not a licensed boat- launching site in terms of the Off-Road Vehicle Regulations.

These regulations control the use of vehicles, including trailers, in the coastal zone.

Civilian vehicles used for the launch and retrieval of vessels are only allowed within the coastal zone in sites that have been demarcated and licensed as boat launching sites.

This is national legislation.

An organisation like a boat club could apply for a specific site to be licensed in terms of this legislation, and if they comply with the conditions, they may become licensed and operate the site as a boat launching site.

Vessels may then be launched there according to whatever management conditions are agreed to.

The licencing is done via the provincial department.