PORT Franklin’s slipway is now open to the boat-owning public for heavier business following a thorough inspection, assessment and re-rating by Gippsland Ports.
The slipway’s previous maximum capacity of 4.25 tonnes has been increased to 10 tonnes after testing proved that the facility is structurally sound and capable of handling larger and heavier vessels.
The first boat weighing over 4.25 tonnes to be brought out of the waters of the Franklin River since the slipway’s re-rating was the 7.5-tonne Sea Rover owned by Steve Voros of Foster.
Port Franklin slip master Don Henderson was present to bring Sea Rover “up on the hard”, as the nautical expression for lifting a boat onto land goes.
“The Port Franklin slip is a friendly structure that can be adjusted to suit a lot of different kinds of boats, and it’s in a sheltered location, safe from much of the weather,” Steve said.
“It was great watching Sea Rover coming out of the water here.”
“The really good thing about the Port Franklin slip now though is that I don’t have to take my boat from her home mooring all the way around to Port Welshpool,” he said.
“Apart from how long it takes to get there, the set-up at the Port Welshpool slip isn’t as simple and easy to use and access, and the weather can also cause problems.”
Sea Rover was slipped to have her hull cleaned in readiness for another coat of anti-foul, as well as to allow Steve to carry out other periodic maintenance works, such as sanding and painting, and a mechanical check.
Steve said the Port Franklin slip’s fees were cheaper than those at other slipways, and that he had the use of the slip for three days at a cost of $500 plus statutory administration and environmental charges.
Port Franklin Public Purpose and Recreation Reserve Inc. Committee of Management (CoM) members Andy Young and Alan Smith were on hand to help Steve with the work armed with paintbrushes and sandpaper.
“After re-rating, this slip is now open again for business,” they said.
In 2017 the Port Franklin slip had been threatened with permanent closure and decom
missioning by July 2019, however the Port Franklin and Gippsland boat-owning communities appealed to Gippsland Ports for a review of the decision at a public roundtable held in May 2019.
The high level of support shown for the slipway lead to the Gippsland Ports board deciding to allow a two-year reprieve for the facility providing its patronage increased in June 2019.
The board also supported boat-owners’ calls to return the slip to or nearer to its original 12-tonne capacity in order to make it available to a wider range of users as well as more economically viable in general.
“A plea came from the public to re-rate the Port Franklin slip, and Gippsland Ports listened,” Alan said.
“As a result, here we are, working on a 7.5-tonne boat, on a slip can now prove its worth as a real asset.”
Bookings for the Port Franklin slipway may be made through Gippsland Ports’ Bairnsdale office on 5150 0500.