January 2019
Queensland Sporting Hovercraft Club

Dear Air Cushion Vehicle enthusiast,
The Queensland branch of The Australian Hovercraft Federation held a planning meeting on Tuesday, 15th January 2019, at the Coopers Plains Library in Orange Grove Road.
This meeting was attended by:-

President:- Ben Woodhead
Vice President:- Kim Allen
Treasurer:- Phillip Audsley
Secretary:- Cle Sheck
Publicity Officer:- Steve Stephens

Other members attending were Michael Stephenson, Neil Budworth, Angus Kerr, Dieter Renisch, Steven Odgaard, Peter Venn, Arthur Stead, Dwayne Morgan and Les Taylor.

Welcome to visitor: Caroline Hunter.

Cruise report - Colmslie Reserve, Colmslie - Sunday 13th January 2019.

The last club cruise was held on Sunday 13th January 2019, launching from the Colmslie Reserve boat ramp on the Brisbane River at Colmslie.

Those attending the cruise with craft were:-

Ben Woodhead Turbo XP 960
Les Taylor Turbo 235 Superwedge / Yamaha PE 485 - Phoenix.
Dieter Renisch Viper 4 Cruiser
Steven Odgaard Bill Baker Vehicle 2 - Static Display

Also in attendance were Kim, James, Halley and Christine Allen, Mick Rutterman, Fallon Renisch, Cle and Aven Sheck.

It wasn't a long cruise, but the weather was nice, the sun was shining and there was a light breeze.

Ben Woodhead, Dieter, Fallon and Michael and Les Taylor went for a cruise up the river past Southbank. They stopped on a sandy beach just past the Story Bridge for about 10 minutes, then turned around and came back.
Everyone then enjoyed the BBQ lunch and a chat.
A few of us then went over and had a look at an adjustable pitch fan hub that Les Taylor had purchased. It was very interesting.

After lunch, Dieter and Michael set about fixing some segments that they had blown out on their previous run. Once the segmants were repaired, Michael then piloted the Viper 4 cruiser across the river with Cle and Aven Sheck on board.
After a brief stop on the other side of the river, Cle then took control of the Viper and they went for a cruise up the river and under the Gateway Bridge and back again.
Upon the return of Cle, Aven and Michael, the day was coming to an end with people slowly starting to pack up, but it was an enjoyable day for those that attended.

We had 13 people and 4 hovercraft for the cruise today.

Department of Environment and Science news:-
On 14/01/19 the Department of Environment and Science (DES) made the following announcement:

The Department of Environment and Science is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the Marine Parks (Great Sandy) Zoning Plan 2017 (the Zoning Plan). The Zoning Plan, originally established in 2006, provides a management framework that aims tobalance conservation and sustainable use within the Great Sandy Marine Park (GSMP).

The GSMP protects an area of approximately 6000 km2 along the Bundaberg/Fraser Coast including Hervey Bay and the Great Sandy Strait. It is home to a diverse range of natural values including extensive seagrass meadows and mangrove communities, some of the world’s most southerly coastal fringing reefs, and species of international and national conservation significance such as humpback whales, turtles, dugong and grey nurse sharks. These values underpin a wide variety of recreational and commercial activities such as fishing and tourism.

A comprehensive review of the Zoning Plan is being undertaken to support a contemporary management approach to the GSMP that is based on available science, best practice and community input.
A key component of the Zoning Plan review has been the preparation of the ‘Great Sandy Marine Park Discussion Paper – Zoning Plan Opportunities’ to facilitate public input into the future direction of the Zoning Plan.
The Discussion Paper was released for public consultation on Monday, 14 January 2019 and is available on the Queensland Government’s marine parks website www.qld.gov.au/marineparks and the Get Involved website www.getinvolved.qld.gov.au. Further background information to support the zoning plan review is also available at www.qld.gov.au/marineparks.
As you have previously expressed an interest in the zoning plan review for GSMP, I encourage you to review the Discussion Paper and be involved in helping to shape the future management direction of the GSMP by making a submission during the public consultation period.

Marine Resource Management | Protected Area Strategy and Policy
Protected Area, Innovation, Engagement and Policy
Department of Environment and Science
PO Box 15187, City East QLD 4002 | www.des.qld.gov.au

This announcement has been awaited for a long time as it is our big chance to get some overdue changes to the department's discriminatory treatment of recreational hovercraft.

Please follow this link and read the Great Sandy Marine Park Zoning Plan Discussion Paper:- https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/greatsandy-marine/pdf/gsmp-zone-plan-disc-paper.pdf then fill in the online survey and put your best effort into the comments box at the end.

Below is my draft reply which I intend to attach to the on-line survey:-
Congratulations on the release of the GSMP zoning discussion paper.
It is beautifully presented and well thought out, with some familiar names appearing in the credits. Well done!
The task of maintaining an equitable balance between public access, sustainable use, and conservation is recognised as difficult due to the many conflicting interests. Best wishes for successful results.

I am a stakeholder who is disadvantaged by current Marine Park regulations which treat small recreational hovercraft (ACV's or Air Cushion Vehicles), as if they were commercial hovercraft doing commercial work.
I hope we can use this opportunity to eliminate the perceived need for "Managed Vessel" status for these small recreational ACV's which are registered as normal trailer boats but are amphibious.
The re-wording of a few phrases within the current zoning plan would allow us the same access as all other trailer boats, but without the current Public Liability Insurance burden which costs each of us on average more than $60 per monthly outing, as well as the statistically unecessary permit restrictions which we currently suffer.

Our hovercraft are typically of similar weight and dimensions to a regular "12ft tinnie", but have no keel, rudder, skeg, propellor, or exhaust below the water. They have a flat-bottomed fibreglass hull which is actually lifted more than 100mm above the surface by low-pressure air when underway. This means they can't cause prop-strikes or hull-strikes to turtles, dugong, or other "surface dwelling" fauna or benthic communities, and barely leave any impression when landing on soft mud, sand, or fragile low vegetation. ACV's are propelled and steered using a 1m diameter ducted fan, and rudders in the air-stream. These attributes easily earn them the recognition of being "the most environmentally friendly powered watercraft in the world" and should not be subject to the current restrictions within our Marine Parks.
That is also why one of our Queensland Sporting Hovercraft club members, (Peter Venn), was employed by Naomi Findlay, (Project Officer Eighty Mile Beach (BHPBIO) Department of Parks and Wildlife 111 Herbert St Broome WA 6725), to ferry a large team of international scientists and geologists including Grant Pearson and Robert Hickey, (PhD Professor of Geography, Central Washington University, USA), across one of the worlds most significant migratory bird feeding-sites on Roebuck Bay, W.A., on a daily basis from 04/10/16 to 17/10/16.
Meanwhile, here in Qld, we are still the subject of poorly constructed controls, despite the reams of scientific evidence which we have presented over several years.

Small recreational hovercraft are amphibious so they don't need boat ramps, and the soft fabric skirts which contain the lift-air under the hull barely leave any drag-marks on mud or sand, so they are very suitable for launching and retrieving from beaches and other gently sloping waters edge without any risk to the environment.

We have existed long before the Marine Parks were invented, and have virtually never been a risk to the environment, so the current permits are totally unjustified. The department's historical method of regulation was to say "No" and create arbitrary boundaries, instead of using more effective tools such as common-sense guidelines or recommendations, "Tide-state" restrictions, or "seasonal access" restrictions, etc for avoiding disturbance or minimising risk. (A mudbank which becomes exposed at low tide and isn't being occupied by birds, is not a risk. Therefore there is no reason to ban ACV's from flying on them at low tide.)
Please ensure the above information is used to fix the current discriminatory treatment of small recreational hovercraft within our Marine Parks.
I am happy to present more information to backup our request for the necessary changes to the zoning plan.

Steve Stephens
QSH club publicity.

News from Hervey Bay:-

Elliot Heads
Elliot Heads Hovercraft
James King has been very actively involved with many department staff and is currently compiling the QSH club's official response to the discussion paper. This will be distributed as soon as available.
Please follow this link to catch up with his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2209571185779572/?ref=share

James, Karl, and Eugine were interviewed by TV channel 7 at Elliot Heads at 0830 on wednesday 23/01/19.

Next club cruise:-
The next club cruise will be held on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd February 2019 at Moogerah Dam near Aratula.
Some members will be out there from Thursday afternoon.
Check in at the caravan park kiosk in Muller Park Road, then go through the boom gate and veer rightish to the weedy area on the right-hand side of the boat ramp for a 9:00 am start.

Contact for the event is Ben Woodhead on 0401 630 638.

Next Queensland branch meeting:
The next club meeting will be held on Tuesday 19th February 2019 at 7:30pm.
It will be held in the Coopers Plains Library at 107 Orange Grove Road, Coopers Plains.
There is plenty of parking at the rear of the library building via Bosworth Street off Orange Grove Road.

UBD Reference - Map 200 D-13.

Anyone with an interest in air cushion vehicles is welcome to attend.
We discuss technical topics and plan cruises.

Cle Sheck
QSH secretary