Waterfront harbour risky for ski-boats

The small craft harbour and boat launch poses a number of risks to ski-boats wishing to use the facility.

10 September 2018 | Local News

Jessica Botes

The Swakopmund town council will take up the challenges experienced at the waterfront small craft harbour and boat launch with the developer of the Platz am Meer mall.

This was revealed at the ordinary council meeting on Thursday during a discussion of the Sea Rescue Institute of Namibia’s (SRIN) application to renew its lease of the boathouse located along Molenweg.

The SRIN’s lease agreement with the town council lapsed on 31 July. Although the SRIN previously indicated to the town council that it would relocate to the waterfront at Platz am Meer once on-going construction is finalised, it opted not to do so.

A meeting was held between representatives of SRIN and council officials regarding the relocation on 20 February 2017. At the meeting SRIN indicated that their current premises is too small for storage purposes, no separate male and female changing facilities were available for the life guards, and no space was available for an office. There is also no additional space on site to expand the facility.

The location of this facility is however ideal as the majority of emergency calls came from the area between the jetty and the Mole. Direct access to the sea is also available here to launch their rescue craft. The SRIN indicated that they could at a later stage consider an additional station at the waterfront, but that certain issues would first have to be addressed.

During a discussion with the Ski-boat Association, the acting general manager for corporate services and human resources at the municipality was informed that the waterfront poses a number of risks to the ski-boats wishing to use the boat launch and the small craft harbour.

These risks range from a low and narrow southern sea wall which allows large waves to break over it, the silting up of the harbour and entrance, rocks and boulders on the harbour floor and the incorrect angle of the seawall which makes it dangerous to exit as a skipper cannot see approaching waves until it is too late.

According to the town council’s agenda, addressing these risks will require capital investment from the developer. It however is unclear whether the developers will be willing or able to fix it. It is unlikely the harbour will be used by ski-boats at all if the issues are not addressed.

Subsequently, the SRIN requested council to extend its lease agreement until such time that a decision on relocation has been finalised. Taking the SRIN’s concerns about the current premises into consideration, council recommended that the lease area should be expanded to provide the additional change rooms and office space.

As such, the lease period was extended for another five years at a cost of N$13.31 per month. The operations of the SRIN were also extended to encompass all the beach areas of Swakopmund.

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