The holiday season is long gone, and everyone has been back at work, school or whatever you do when you are not on holiday here in Knysna. The December-January holiday season was wonderful notwithstanding some inclement weather during the first part of the holidays and judging by the visitor numbers at LIBC many people had shorter holidays than in the past. Nevertheless  I am sure that after nearly two years of horribly changed lifestyles because of Covid, it was marvellous to get back to something approaching normality once again.
The harbour was as busy as ever and on some days it was jam-packed and things became a bit chaotic, but it was fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves out in the fresh air once again. Long may it last! It is always a bit strange and sad to see the harbour quiet again when everyone leaves but thankfully Easter is not far off and hopefully many of you will soon be back here in Knysna! We look forward to seeing you all out on the lagoon enjoying yourselves.
Last year, while looking through some of the old files at the Club, we came across some very early documents related to LIBC and we realised that 2022 marks an important anniversary of the founding of the Leisure Isle Boat Club and in the Committee Report presented at the AGM we said that we would report on this in more detail in a newsletter. We have done some research  and came across a treasure trove of information which we share with you further on in this newsletter.
As usual, the harbour took a bit of a pounding over the holiday season and we are busy attending to a number of items, including repairs and alterations to the entrance boom which has been severely damaged by people forcing it when it is fixed in the open position. The design will be modified to overcome the problem and the boom will be properly repaired, and repainted. In addition, some of the new finger jetties have twisted as a result of the timber warping and in severe cases these will be repaired or replaced. Some warping is inevitable and the problem will never be completely overcome, but if any member feels that their finger jetty needs repair, please inform Harbour Management as a matter of urgency and we will inspect your jetty and make such changes as are necessary.
Last year many of the jetty poles which showed signs of damage from marine “gribble” attack were replaced and at the same time the contractor undertook an underwater survey of every pole in the harbour. A few additional damaged poles were identified and these will be replaced over the coming months using our current stock of spare replacement poles.
It should be noted that we are unsure as to the treatment which had been applied to the existing poles in the harbour and therefore we cannot offer an explanation as to why they have deteriorated but perhaps after something like 18 years since the harbour was extended, it is only to be expected that they have reached the end of their useful life. In any event, all the new poles carry the SABS approval stamp and are treated to level H6 as recommended by the Timber Preservative Association of SA for permanent immersion in a marine environment.
A project which was identified late in 2021 was to improve the roof over the toilet block at the entrance gate. At the January 2022 Committee meeting it was decided that the time has come to properly upgrade the old toilet building with modern sanitaryware and decent wall and floor finishes. At the same time the entire roof will be replaced. We will obtain professional advice before commencing any work and because the upgrade will involve significant expenditure, the Committee will seek approval from our members before committing to anything. It is reassuring to note that the Club’s financial resources will enable us to undertake this work.
Some Club members have expressed concern about the quality of the water supply at the washbay which is sourced from a borehole (spike) located near the fence adjoining the tennis courts and they have questioned whether or not it is suitable for flushing outboard motors and washing boats. One of our Committee members happens to have an instrument which he uses regularly to measure the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in spike water around Leisure Isle and very recently he performed a test on our LIBC spike water and the reult was a TDS of 141ppm. By way of comparison the TDS of Knysna municipal water is typically around 110-120 ppm and most spikes on Leisure Isle produce a result of 500-600 ppm. This is not an indicator that the water quality is suitable for domestic use but it certainly proves that the salt content is very low and that the water is entirely suitable for use at the washbay. As a matter of interest, many years ago as a consulting engineer I was required to measure and treat water from many municipalities around the country where it was to be used in boilers or other hot water applications. Almost invariably the TDS of municipal water away from the coast was always around 300 ppm or higher, so, really, our LIBC water is of an excellent quality. In the meantime we will arrange for a proper water analysis to be carried out to determine the overall quality. We do not want to use municipal water at the washbay because of the cost and it is a precious resource in SA.
As is the case every year the problem of over-size boats in the harbour once again became apparent during the holiday season and several incidents of collisions between boats were reported to Harbour Management, including a few where significant damage was caused to boats and/or outboard engines. The problem was exacerbated over this last holiday period because of the heavy prevailing winds which made manoeuvring in the harbour difficult even for a skilled and experienced boat skipper.
The problem is that the LIBC harbour simply cannot accommodate large boats and for this reason the Rules related to boat sizes must be adhered to by Members and are strictly enforced by the Committee. It is furthermore apparent that the current method used to determine boat lengths (Tip of prow to transom) is not always appropriate and as a result the committee is going to undertake a proper study and we may come up with new parameters for determining boat sizes. Obviously existing boats which comply with the LIBC Rules will not be affected in any way but one item which must be highlighted is the fact that some of the “swim platforms” being installed on new boats do not appear to comply with the Rules and we will have to deal with this.
We are indeed fortunate at LIBC that we have not had any recent serious security issues, although from time to time we do receive reports of minor incidents. One such incident was a report that the bungs had been removed from a boat in the trailer park and the boat had been tampered with but this turned out to be a false alarm. More recently, after the holidays our cameras recorded youngsters swimming into the harbour entrance and climbing onto A Jetty where they apparently removed ropes from a boat and made their escape. The incident was captured on our security cameras and we have asked the boat owner to lay a charge with SAPS with assistance from Allsound.
Harbour Management and the Committee learns a lesson from every one of these incidents and we continually review our security arrangements and where necessary we will change and improve the way we do things. At the same time, we have to remind you that LIBC cannot accept the responsibility or liability for your possessions and assets and you must take steps to insure and secure your belongings. Please make sure that anything of value, including fuel, is securely locked away and do NOT leave anything lying exposed in your boat. Not only do you risk losing your equipment, but the sight of loose gear lying around makes the harbour an attractive target and encourages criminal activity. We do not want to be forced into installing “hard” security measures at great cost and inconvenience.
In November last year we attended a second meeting of the “Lagoon Users Forum” under the auspices of SANParks. This is an informal group that was established early in 2021 at LIBC’s suggestion and includes LIBC, KYC, KADA, Knysna Quays, Thesens Homeowners Association, Brenton and Belvidere. The purpose is to discuss matters of mutual interest and to see where we can assist SANParks and visa versa.
The November meeting was largely about the replacement of the existing SANParks Main Channel channel marker buoys all the way from the Heads to the Red Bridge, because they are old and clearly showing signs of wear and tear. SANParks were able to purchase a number of new buoys which are apparently manufactured to international standards, but the SANParks budget does not make provision for their installation, the cost of which is approximately R6 500.0 per buoy (includes the installation of marine navigation lights). After discussion, all the organisations present pledged their support and this will enable SANParks to replace all the existing channel marker buoys from the Heads all the way to the Train Bridge which is the section of the estuary used by large boats and international visitors.
Subsequently your LIBC representatives carried out an informal inspection of the buoys which have been delivered to SANParks and we have some reservations about the standard of manufacture  which we hope can be resolved before committing any LIBC money.
The LIBC Chairman and Treasurer met with Prof Charles Breen, Chairman of the Knysna Basin Project Board of Trustees who thanked LIBC for our annual donation and he gave us an update on KBP activities. It is most pleasing to report that, although Covid and the departure of the previous team leader, Louw Claasen, clearly left a big gap, the organisation remains very active and is developing a clear vision for its future and the vital role it can play in contributing towards the sustainability of the Knysna Estuary and its surrounds. We are encouraged to see that KBP has bold plans for the future and that the financial support that we provide is important to them. Prof Breen explained that the LIBC donation is specifically used to fund their boat which is obviously a critical element in the work they do.
He also told us about an exciting project they are busy with to produce and publish a really detailed book covering every aspect of the estuary from its history back to ancient times and including scientific studies and various relevant subjects. This sounds really interesting and something to look forward to. We will keep you posted!
We are in constant touch with the Knysna Sports Academy (KSA) through our Member, Colin Mathiesen who is on the KSA Board of Trustees. Colin wrote a very appreciative letter of thanks to LIBC on behalf of KSA for our recent donation to the organisation which helps so many Knysna children to develop a love of sport through their varied activities which include golf, cycling, cricket and bowls. The work KSA does gives children a chance in life which they would not otherwise have and it is wonderful to hear that because of their successes in their chosen field of sport, many of these children are able to attend some of the best schools in the country. A wonderful organisation that makes a difference!

Physical address:  Erf No 2060, Links Drive, Leisure Isle, Knysna, 6571
Phone                    079 378 8252

Note that the phone is manned during LIBC office hours only,

September to May: 06h00 – 18h00

June to August: 07h00 – 17h30

Email :


LIBC GATE NUMBER: 065 509 3553 (Your phone should be automatically registered on the access control system to enable you to use the facility to open the gate, but please check and inform Clive if you have a problem).

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