If you are part of the 80 per cent of Port Hedland residents who own a boat – start your engine, because you now have the opportunity to safely launch your boat year-round thanks to Spoilbank Marina’s new boat ramp!
On 20 January, a crowd of excited Pilbara locals were thrilled to watch Marine Rescue Port Hedland launch the first vessel from the new and innovative four-lane Spoilbank Marina boat ramp, an important milestone for the development that gives fishers much better launching options with Port Hedland’s big tidal swings.
Until now, boat fishers have only been able to launch their vessels from Port Hedland’s other two-lane ramps when the tidal conditions allowed it, often leading to long queues at the ramp with fishers wanting to get out and target the great Pilbara fish species on offer.
Check out the awesome video from Marine Rescue Port Hedland below celebrating the launch of the new boat ramp!
Robbie Peck from the North West Spearfishing Club said it’s a game-changer for the coastal town, with many of Port Hedland’s 15,000-plus population being avid fishers.
“Not only will this offset the pressure at the other boat ramps, but it is so much safer, and it has finally unlocked year-round launching which is very exciting news for the fishers up here given the FADs are coming soon and potentially artificial reefs,” said Robbie.
“We will also soon have wash-down facilities available at the ramps and we have already seen proof that the marina rock wall itself is attracting some impressive fish species such as coral trout and mangrove jack, so as Port Hedland’s population grows this marina will serve boat boat and land-based fishers exceptionally well.”
To compliment the new addition to the marina, Pilbara Ports Project Director John Freimanis said other developments are in the works so fishers can get the most out of the area.
“There are multiple fish filleting and barbecue stations being developed close to the ramps so fishers will soon have the ability to duck out, catch a fish, fillet it with ease and even enjoy a cook up with friends and family at the marina if they wish to do so,” said John.
Pilbara Ports placed fishing considerations at the fore of its ongoing construction of the Spoilbank Marina with Recfishwest’s input and given the difference between the low and high tide mark in Port Hedland is frequently around six metres, clever designs were implemented so both boat and land-based fishers could overcome this obstacle.
The innovative two-level fishing platform will soon allow fishers of all abilities to be adaptable and wet a line during either the low or high-tide mark and Pilbara Ports drew on Recfishwest’s artificial reef expertise to configure six reef balls underneath the platform to attract more species fishers love to target.
“The mental, social and physical wellbeing benefits that fishing provides is crucial to so many community members in coastal towns like Port Hedland and it is great to see the Government’s input into this marina so fishers on the water and land can fully reap these rewards,” said Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland.
“A big thanks to the Pilbara Ports team and all players involved in the vision for the Spoilbank Marina and for providing Recfishwest the opportunity to optimise it from a recfishing viewpoint. It’s quickly becoming one of the most adaptable, innovative and welcoming fishing marinas in the country and we want to see much more of this along the WA coast.”
The Spoilbank Marina boat ramp will initially be available for daily use between 6am and 6pm due to environmental approval restrictions related to the construction phase. The Richardson Street boat ramp will remain open for use 24 hours per day.
Recfishwest will continue to consult with Pilbara Ports on the ongoing Spoilbank Marina construction, with the land-based jetty expected to be opened to the public in mid-2024 and landside completion expected in late-2024.
To keep up to date with the Spoilbank Marina project, check out the Pilbara Ports Facebook page.