GREENWELL Point slipway fees have increased 100 per cent on last year which has some boaties up in arms.
But everyone seems to agree the facility is too important to lose.
Last year the cost of winching was $123.50 each way.
But since Shoalhaven City Council opted for the slipway to operate at full cost recovery earlier this year, the cost has blown out to $246.70 each way.
Michael Ball of Nowra owns an eight metre boat which he slips each year for cleaning and maintenance.
“I was astounded by the increase,” Mr Ball said.
“It will cost me over $500 for a weekend on the slips. This does not include set up of the slip, or anything other than the winch up and down.
“Shoalhaven City Council has a monopoly on slipping in this area and they are certainly taking advantage of that fact.”
Mr Ball believes the fee increase could result in boat owners forgoing scheduled maintenance to avoid the annual slipping fee. He said that could have safety consequences.
He also fears if less people use the slipway, council will see it as a reason to close the facility down.
Luke Jennings from All Shipwright Services has been contracted by council to operate the slipway for the last five years.
He understands boaties don’t want to be hit with large fee increases but said he doubts the fee rise will result in the facilities closure through lack of use.
Kiama’s slipway is the next to the north and Ulladulla the next to the south and the fuel costs to travel to those areas and back still made Greenwell Point financially viable, he said.
“Generally people have been having a moan about the fee but they would rather pay that fee and keep the thing,” Mr Jennings said.
“It is a good facility. Marine Rescue appreciate having it close by, and the local fishermen appreciate it too.
“It gets a lot of use. We would pull in about 70 boats a year.
“The area needs this, we can’t afford to lose it.”
Shoalhaven Marine Rescue skipper Mike Boadle said the slipway was indispensable for the organisation.
“We undertake maintenance twice a year so we need ready access to a slipway,” he said.
“Occasionally if we have a breakdown, the boat has got to come out of the water.
“Our alternative is to tow that boat to Port Kembla or Ulladulla and then we’d have two boats out of action.”
Mr Boadle said the other issue the rescue organisation faced was the work was done by volunteers.
“If we had to transport the volunteers up or down the coast I think we would find it much harder to get people to work on the boat,” he said.
Shoalhaven City Council director of Assets and Works Ben Stewart said the slipway was a critical piece of infrastructure for the boat owners in the community.
“Our contractor is very flexible with times and works in with boat owners to ensure the slipway is available at the right tide.”