Boaties flood Dunsborough boat ramps

Residents concerned about the number of boaties at Dunsborough's boat ramps during the pandemic ahead of the Easter break. Image supplied.
Residents concerned about the number of boaties at Dunsborough's boat ramps during the pandemic ahead of the Easter break. Image supplied.

Dunsborough boat ramps have been flooded with boat users on Thursday morning despite repeated messages from government officials to avoid non-essential travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boating and boat ramps have not yet been closed or restricted during the pandemic, but the Transport Department has discouraged it.

Advice on the department's website states, "given the current COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Emergency and advice from the State and Commonwealth Government on gatherings, social distancing of at least 1.5 metres and non-essential activities, if you can stay at home - stay home.

"We recommend if you don't need to go out on your boat, then please don't.

"Non-essential activities should be postponed or cancelled."

City of Busselton chief executive officer Mike Archer said rangers would be patrolling these areas to ensure there was a quick turnover of users at these facilities during the Easter break.

Mr Archer said to enforce the 'stay home' message rangers would be giving high priority to patrolling beaches, boat ramps including car parks and illegal parking.

"If people are parking illegally city rangers will issue parking infringements," he said.

"If they are disobeying social distancing and gathering rules or have travelled from an outside district without appropriate exemption, WA Police could impose a $1000 on the spot fine and city rangers would be working with local police if these situations present."

Mr Archer said border restrictions applied to vehicles and boats and people could be fined for breaching these controls if they sailed into the South West from another district.

"The message has been very clear, do not undertake any unnecessary travel and stay home unless absolutely necessary," he said.

"This next week is critical if we are to maintain slow rates of infection in the state."

Residents raised concerns about the number of people boating in Dunsborough ahead of the Easter break. Image supplied.

Residents raised concerns about the number of people boating in Dunsborough ahead of the Easter break. Image supplied.

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam said currently, boat ramps have not been closed. Similarly with beaches, if there was evidence of significant concerns there would be the possibility they will be closed.

"The Department of Transport recommends that you should only go out on your boat if it is essential. The guideline is that non-essential activities should be postponed or cancelled," she said.

"The issue is not so much about social distancing, as a couple of people in the middle of the ocean could be within the guidelines, but rather if the boat requires any assistance, it is taking emergency services away from other essential roles and putting others at risk from COVID-19.

"Please consider other members of the community and follow the guidelines of our state and federal leaders to remain at home with your families and only visit the beach or public places for daily exercise."