COVID-19 Look after your Couta Boat

What the Water Police say about looking after your boat during the lockdown.

  • Media reports highlight that beaches, piers, jetties and boat ramps are closed and that recreational boating is not an essential activity.
  • We spoke to the Water Police, they understand that boats need to be looked after – They confirmed what is allowed when looking after you boat and what “add-ons” are going to get you in a world of strife.

Looking after your boat, essential care, is allowed under the rules. The Water Police are boaties themselves, they know that boats need checking and care when they are in the water, so they also know what is not a necessary activity.

Members are encouraged to care for their boats on moorings, but that’s not a licence to go recreationally boating here is a summary of the Do’s and Don’ts:


Check your boat via the club Boatcam: Have a look at how she is sitting and riding in the water – is she normal or low?

Plan to regularly recharge the battery to keep the bilge pump working.

– This can be done on the moorings usually – Use the gearbox de-selector and nudge the throttle so that you get above idle and the alternator starts to charge the battery.

With the current weather, boats will be shipping some extra water and the bilges will be doing more work than normal – so after strong North-Westerlies and rainfall, bring your next recharge check forward.

Check your bilge every time you check your boat – ensure there is nothing loose that could wash around and block the pump or jam the float switch.

You can check your boat with members of your family household or 1 other person – this is a normal safe practice.

We are refuelling the tender every few days – Check there is enough fuel for a return trip to your boat – before setting off.

Take your own lifejackets to use a tender to go to your boat, the club is not open to loan them to you.

Don’t hog the tender duck – think of others – if you will be more than 5-10minutes, bring another duck to the jetty and put it back when you have finished.

Pull the tender back out on the Flinders mooring after use – we are not doing a daily pack away.

Follow Standard Practice – Let someone know when you are going to check on your boat and when you will return, take a charged mobile phone &/or VHF in case something goes wrong.


To avoid any uncertainty – Don’t take the piss – The following are not allowed.

  • “We’re just having a beer while we recharge the battery”
  • “We just dropped a line over while we check on the boat”
  • “We’re just sunbathing while we check on the frequency of the bilge pump engaging”
  • “I’m just refuelling at Queenscliff and I needed to get some fish and chips for the trip back.”
  • “I just took it out to clean the weeds off the bottom and just happened to end up at the seals”

There is no non-commercial boating happening, so if you leave the moorings – you’ll stick out like a sore thumb, here are some tips.

Recharge in gear – Some boats may not have a gearbox de-selector and to operate at the revs needed to recharge you may need to engage forward gear. If this is the case, do so in the immediate vicinity of your mooring – Just do some figure 8s within a few 100 meters of your mooring going upwind and downwind. – You can’t take a trip to Point King or Shelley Beach and “stumble” across the dolphins.

Delivery trip to another mooring or anchorage – This only applies to a few of our members, but if relocating the boat for winter lay-up, have the trip and booking recorded with the Marina you are going to and the confirmation email handy.

Hauling Out – If you are taking the boat out of the water to lay up in the yard, then have the trailer at the boat ramp ready to recover – Only travel directly from your mooring to the ramp.

Not sure? – Think of what is essential; sinking boat – essential response, washing the seagull crap off – maybe not so essential..

Still not sure? – Sergeant Mark Helyer  encourages “members to contact the Rescue Coordination Centre  [03 9399 7500] as you did this morning if they are in any doubt about what they can and can’t do.”