THIS weekend GRE Marine and Wakeboard NSW will team up to host the Summer Series Round 4 on the Shoalhaven River in Nowra, raising concerns among residents about the boats’ potential harm to the river.
Residents living on the Shoalhaven River have said that the growing population of wakeboarders in the area had made them wary of the river’s erosion.
Tony Emery, who has property on the Shoalhaven River, said skippers of wakeboarding boats needed to be educated on how to reduce their impact on the river to keep it pristine in the future.
“The main problem is letting learners or inexperienced drivers behind the boats who are unable to control the amount of wake they produce, which may damage the banks.
“We’re not going to stop wakeboarders from using these boats on the river,” Mr Emery said.
The Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) said it has worked with government agencies, private landholders, farmers, community groups and volunteers to restore areas affected by erosion along the river.
The CMA’s Love the River campaign has been bringing all users together to help care for the Shoalhaven River.
Adam Gietzelt from CMA said the campaign had planted the seed for a promising partnership with the wakeboarding community to help with the riverbank restoration.
“International champion Josh Sanders is working with the CMA to involve wakeboarders in the river rehabilitation works and help raise awareness of river issues with boat users,” Mr Gietzelt said.
Mr Emery said he had only seen noticeable damage to some parts of the river and there seemed to be other factors causing the erosion as well.
“Some days when there are high tides and a lot of boats on the river we suffer bank damage but most of it seems to be from the wind and waves produced by all boats, not necessarily wakeboarding boats,” he said.
The catchment authority and local boating community will shortly undertake an investigation into bank erosion on the Shoalhaven River.
A supporter of the campaign, Josh Sanders told the South Coast Register he was excited to work with the CMA to apply science in determining the cause of bank erosion.
“It’s often easy to be persuaded by individual prejudices when trying to apportion blame for something.
“But ultimately I believe we all love the river,” said Josh Sanders.
The Summer Series Round Four competition starts on Sunday at 7.45am and everyone is invited to watch the event.