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New EPA Boat Boosts Frontline Defence

20 April 2016

Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville today launched Environment Protection Authority Victoria’s (EPA) new marine monitoring boat, bar-ba-ka, at Docklands.

The new boat will support EPA’s marine monitoring program within Port Phillip Bay and Western Port and allow EPA scientists to contribute to a range of research projects.

Monitoring data from Port Phillip Bay beaches and Yarra River released today for the 2015-16 summer period show nine beaches equalling first place for best recreational water quality. The new boat will provide greater support to ensure this 30-yr monitoring program continues to collect good water quality data.

Hampton, Seaford, Portsea, Canadian Bay, Sandringham, Elwood, Rosebud, Santa Casa and Black Rock all offered the best recreational water quality, while Half Moon Bay, Portarlington, Carrum and South Melbourne beaches equalled 10th spot.

Most of the bay’s beaches met EPA’s water quality objectives with 97 per cent of beaches meeting EPA objectives for swimming – up from 94 per cent for the same period last year and 47 per cent in 2011/12.

The new boat will also increase EPA’s ability to investigate marine issues, respond to environmental emergencies, identify pollution hotspots and manage compliance investigations.

Features of the new 11.95-metre aluminium catamaran include:

  • A fully operational on-board water laboratory
  • A cruising speed of 11-12 knots with a top speed of more than 20 knots
  • Greater weather operability
  • Better access to open coast environments
  • An improved ability to collect marine water quality data and information
  • A range capability from Port Melbourne to the Victorian borders and back

The name bar-ba-ka, meaning porpoise, was selected in consultation with the Boon Wurrung community and Aboriginal cultural consultants, reflecting EPA’s commitment to working inclusively.

The Australian-built boat will be stationed at Williamstown and has replaced EPA’s 8.5metre catamaran, Koorong, after 25 years of service.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville

“The new boat is a great asset to EPA Victoria and will support the work of its world-class scientists in helping to monitor and protect our bays and beaches.”

“Despite advances in technology, there is no better way to monitor water quality than to collect samples; the bar-ba-ka boosts our front line of defence in protecting our bays and beaches for all Victorians.”

“All beaches in Port Phillip Bay and popular swim locations along the Yarra performed well over the summer period for the most part but there were significant periods of rain, which impacted on water quality in Port Phillip Bay and Yarra, particularly those locations with stormwater outlets.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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