Diver Rob Timmers found the ute 5 metres below the service.

By Tom McNish

THE long weekend was ruined for a young fisherman trying to launch his boat on the Inverloch Jetty on Sunday, November 1.

Long-time Inverloch diver Rob Timmers had launched his boat earlier and aware low tide was at 7.32am.

Rob said it appeared the driver did everything right.

“The driver was reversing with a friend spotting on the pier, he tried to stop and apply his handbrake, but he had no traction,” Rob said.

He said it all went wrong in a matter of minutes.

“Whilst the car was sliding, he got out of the ute and released his boat,” Rob said.

“His friend spotting tried to hold on to the car but once water got into the cabin, there was no stopping it,” he said.

The ute driver told Rob the situation was beyond his control.

On Thursday afternoon, the car and trailer were removed by a crane. Both are beyond repair.

Rob is calling on whoever is responsible to maintain the Inverloch boat ramp to a higher standard and encouraged them to install corrugations on the pier surface.

“We don’t want someone else having the same problem,” Rob said.

Another experienced diver and fisherman, Donald Tipping said he had seen similar incidents occur before.

“Over the years we have seen a number of cars go in,” Donald said.

The regular fishermen are calling for a new boat ramp surface and for families not to unload with kids inside the launching car.

Both Rob and Donald are concerned for the safety of ramp users, especially at low tide.

“If a husband and wife are backing their car, possibly with their kids in their car, that is what we are concerned about,” Donald said.

Rob was firm that the accident needed to be a lesson with action to follow.

“We want to get the message out there that we minimise the chance of this happening again,” Rob said.

“The council need to clean the ramp regularly and to time it so they clean below the low tide.

“If you go to the Newhaven boat ramp, there’s corrugations which mean you can get traction no matter what’s built up on it,” Rob said.

“In an ideal world, there would be an all-weather boat ramp installed at Mahers Landing, where boats can be loaded safely in dangerous conditions,” he said.

A council spokesperson provided the following information:

* “The Inverloch Boat Ramp is now open.

* “The ramp is cleaned quarterly with increased frequency during the peak usage season. We also undertake inspections periodically in between cleans.

* “The cleans are scheduled around tidal conditions and are undertaken by council staff.

* “As a precaution, the ramp was cleaned today (Friday, November 6) at low tide, using high-pressure water cleaning equipment.

* “We are not aware of what exactly caused the incident last weekend, however, other boats were successfully launched earlier that day.

* “The ramp was last cleaned in mid-September this year.”

Regular boaties Donald Tipping and Rob Timmers have called for a new pier surface and for families not to unload boats with children inside cars.