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Boat boost for river health

Marli Boat LaunchThe Swan River Trust has a new 7-metre work boat – Marli – to replace the ageing Wilma Vincent, which has been a fixture in the Swan Canning Riverpark for a decade.

The new boat is purpose-built for river maintenance work, including retrieving the tonnes of litter and objects unfortunately discarded in the Riverpark each year.

A small reinforced crane is mounted on deck to help retrieve larger items, such as tyres and shopping trolleys.Marli is one of four main vessels operated by the Trust. It was launched today with an Aboriginal smoking ceremony.

Marli is the Noongar word for black swan. Swan River Trust Chairman Mick Poole said the Aboriginal name was chosen in recognition of the special significance the Swan and Canning rivers hold for the Noongar community.

“The spiritual, cultural and practical connections that the Noongar people have to these rivers and surrounding lands are immeasurable. They are custodians of over 40,000 years of caring for country and respecting the environment,” he said. Professor Poole thanked Noongar Elder Reverend Sealin Garlett for conducting the smoking ceremony to mark the occasion.

“The Marli has a number of improvements on the Wilma Vincent, including a wider folding ramp at the front for crew to access difficult shoreline areas and extra design features to increase manoeuvrability,” Professor Poole said.

“It allows ballast to be added so the boat can be lowered to go under bridges in the upper reaches and has a retractable awning to assist that purpose. “There is more deck space and a wider cabin door so that more and larger materials can be transported, and the boat can also be easily ‘beached’.”

While the extra capacity was welcome, Professor Poole urged people to be more diligent about disposing of their rubbish responsibly to protect the river system.

A major concern is the amount of discarded fishing line which continues to wash up in large quantities and has a devastating impact on wildlife.

The old vessel has been bought by a private charter company.

In February, a new high-tech patrol boat, Booneenboro, was also added to the Trust’s small fleet to boost its enforcement and compliance capacity.

Media contact: Amanda O’Brien on 9278 0916 or 0434 603 684