Hong Kong plans more private vessel moorings to ease space shortage

City would add 1,200 such spots, but no date set for expansion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 July, 2017, 10:21pm

The government plans to expand private moorings for marine vessels, including in typhoon shelters, to ease a shortage of space.

In response to transport sector lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming’s question about the city’s supply of moorings on Wednesday, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said the Marine Department was “considering” setting up temporary private moorings at typhoon shelters with “lower utilisation rates”.

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Hei Ling Chau typhoon shelter – off the east coast of Lantau Island – and Yim Tin Tsai typhoon shelter – near Sai Kung – were mentioned as potential sites for use by local vessels, including pleasure craft, such as yachts.

Chan added that the department was “also considering” expanding three existing private mooring areas in Tso Wo Hang – in Sai Kung Country Park – as well as Tai Mei Tuk and Shuen Wan Hoi, both in Tai Po.

The expansion plan would add 1,200 private moorings, which the minister said “could help alleviate the keen demand for some typhoon shelters”.

But no date was set for implementing the expansion plan.

Like many initiatives brought before Legco, some vested interest somewhere will block it
David Robinson, Fragrant Harbour magazine

Marine Department statistics showed there were 9,748 licensed pleasure vessels last year, but only around 5,000 public and private moorings and dry berths.

The lack of moorings for pleasure craft has been an ongoing issue for years, and an acknowledgement of the shortage was “welcomed”, according to David Robinson, proprietor of maritime magazine Fragrant Harbour.

“But will anything happen?” he asked. “Like many initiatives brought before Legco, some vested interest somewhere will block it or stymie it.”

Robinson believed the shelter at Yim Tin Tsai had the most promise to receive more moorings as it is adjacent to a public golf course, thus allowing boat owners to sail to the golf course, play, and leave.

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But he did not believe the government understood that people need a place to leave their vessels overnight, not just temporary berths to enjoy the surrounding areas.

As for typhoon shelter spaces during inclement weather or typhoons, the transport minister said department figures showed that “overall territory-wide supply of sheltered space from now [until] 2030 could meet the demand from local vessels, including pleasure vessels”