Divers’ debate gets ‘heated’

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Padi dive instructor Yvette Oxley wants a new ladder or platform for recreational divers at Busselton Jetty
Camera IconPadi dive instructor Yvette Oxley wants a new ladder or platform for recreational divers at Busselton Jetty Credit: Supplied

A rift between Dive Busselton Jetty and other jetty users has erupted about the private enterprise’s use of the outer public platforms.

Dive Busselton Jetty, which operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, from 9am to 3pm, has roped off the wheelchair-accessible platform, forcing personal divers to ascend from dives on an “unsafe” vertical ladder.

Fishers with a disability, who frequently use the ramp-access platform, have also been unable to use the area when Dive Busselton Jetty is operating its undersea helmet walks, scuba dives and snorkelling experiences.

Busselton Jetty Inc chief executive Lisa Shreeve said DBJ had now moved the rope back, allowing divers to use the angled ladder to ascend safely.

“We have listened (to South West divers) and made adjustments and will continue to monitor feedback,” she said.

“Over 100 people who previously were scared, unsure or not confident of getting in the water at the end of the Jetty have now been able to experience the amazing marine life because of the electromagnetic shark curtain.”

One solution provided by Busselton Jetty is to build a new ladder on the second platform but PADI: Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ Yvette Oxley, pictured, said a new angled ladder would need to be implemented immediately or another platform built.

She said the safety and accessibility of the jetty had been sacrificed for commercial gain.

“When I arrived on Friday and was told I couldn’t enter from the first platform, it got a bit heated,” she said.

“They (DBJ) were very abrupt.

“We appreciate what Lisa is doing to address the issue but we still need access to the platform.”

Fishability Busselton program co-ordinator Michelle Lee said several disabled fisherman had approached her about not being able to fish off the ramped platform.

“A few have asked me why they are not allowed to have first priority when the platform was built for them,” she said.

“It would be a lot better if there was another platform for divers at the end of the jetty where we can’t fish.”

Fishability has moved its disabled fishing school to Port Geographe Marina where ramp accessibility is more convenient.

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