Boaties slam 'confusing' state government restrictions as COVID-19 takes toll on boating and fishing industry

BOATIES have slammed the state government for sending mixed messages about restrictions on recreational boating and fishing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DROP ANCHOR: Boaties could be facing a long time stuck on the shores with all non-essential activities on the water banned in Queensland.

DROP ANCHOR: Boaties could be facing a long time stuck on the shores with all non-essential activities on the water banned in Queensland.

Confusion reigned when Transport Minister Mark Bailey announced that fishing for food was permitted in Queensland despite Maritime Safety Queensland initially advising that recreational boating was off limits.

Redland City Bulletin fishing columnist Dave Downie said the spread of misinformation was among the biggest issues for an industry that was already struggling to stay afloat amid the coronavirus crisis.

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"The general consensus amongst boaties is there is no better place to self isolate than on the water," he said.

"Land based anglers do not see an issue with fishing providing they keep their distance as per guidelines. It's no different from taking your dog for a walk - follow the guidelines.

"The recreational fishing industry is devastated. Like most retail outlets, bait, tackle, chandlery and marine dealerships are battling to stay afloat."

Raby Bay boatie David Surmon said the new restrictions were ludicrous and confusing and needed clarity.

"The minister's statement is ambiguous, boaties need a clear answer," he said.

"Exercise is an essential need...We choose not to go walking, we choose sailing in the bay, which is much safer.

"This is curtailment on leisure activities. With such strict isolation laws, what better place to be. I'm tempted to go out, but I'm still confused."

Mr Bailey did not respond to the Redland City Bulletin's questions about whether his statement had been the source of confusion.

Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young advised boaties on Wednesday that the government had effectively put a border at everyone's front door.

"You shouldn't be crossing that border unless you have a very good reason: to get to work, get groceries or medicines," she said.

"The less people move about the less the virus moves about.

"Some people live on the water. Or there's a creek or river nearby. Putting a boat or a board in for them or wetting a line is different from someone, say, in Brisbane, driving to the coast to do it. People know what's right and wrong."

Maritime Safety Queensland have followed the government's advice, urging boaties to stay indoors unless taking part in an essential activity such as exercise, fishing for food, travelling to and from work, buying groceries or providing assistance to an immediate family member.

Mr Downie said once the restrictions were removed, the boating and fishing industry would take a long time to return to normal.

"Everyone will be playing catch up with bills and behind in work. As always, in times of crisis, necessities come before recreation," he said.

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