Water drama: Berger Houseboat Holidays operators Ian Berger and David Marshall assess the damage to an anchor caught on a phone cable.
Water drama: Berger Houseboat Holidays operators Ian Berger and David Marshall assess the damage to an anchor caught on a phone cable. Blainey Woodham

Submerged cable puts lives at risk

A FAMILY holidaying on the Tweed River hit a major snag yesterday when their houseboat's anchor caught on an underwater phone cable.

Berger Houseboat Holidays owner Robert Berger said the problem was becoming more prevalent with the telecommunication cables no longer buried under sand and warning signs too faded to read.

“It's a navigational hazard,” Mr Berger said.

“There's a lot of concern at Boyds Bay Bridge.

“It's putting lives at risk; if the anchor's only half snagged, the boat could come away and hit the pylons.”

Mr Berger said a cable running parallel to Boyds Bay Bridge was what the boat became stuck on yesterday.

“I put my staff at risk unhooking it; the water was murky and fast-flowing and dangerous.

“These customers are not happy at all; it's ruined their holiday.

“It's probably happened to us half a dozen times.”

Fortunately Mr Berger's staff were able to unhook the anchor themselves.

“Sometimes we wait for the tide to turn, otherwise it costs us a minimum of $1000 to get a commercial diver in to unhook it.

“This is costing my business a fortune.

“The cable is in excess of 100mm wide and steel- coated.

"I guarantee that boat will do a gear box after this morning.”

A Telstra spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the Boyds Bay cable was a coaxial Telstra cable which was no longer in use.

“Telstra will investigate improving signage for people using the Tweed River,” she said.

The spokeswoman added there were likely to be other hazards buried on the floor of the river from other service providers.

Mr Berger was aware of two other uncovered cables, believed to belong to Optus, in the Tweed River at Fingal and Chinderah.

“About 12 months ago we got caught up on the cable that runs from the golf club to Fingal.

“When we dove down it was all corroded where other people had got caught.”

Mr Berger called on service providers to rebury or remove cables.



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