This summer, the City of Cockburn needs your help to protect one of our most precious treasures.
The Coogee Maritime Trail at Coogee Beach is an award winning coastal attraction comprising an underwater dive and snorkel trail and a land-based trail.
The trail is perfect for swimmers, snorkellers, lovers of maritime history and underwater life. An incredible diversity of sealife make their home on the trail with around 120 different species of fish living there.
The crown jewel of the trail is the Omeo shipwreck. Lying just 25 metres off the shore, the now haunting and coral-covered wreck is what remains of a 163-year-old English iron steamship.
However, the wreck is extremely vulnerable and continues to be damaged by touching, climbing and misuse.
How to be a responsible snorkeller
You can help to preserve the wreck and protect the sealife that lives there by following these simple tips when snorkelling on the trail.
- Explore with your eyes, not your hands
- Take photos
- Stay calm, quiet and move slowly
- Climb, stand or rest on the wreck
- Remove pieces of the wreck
- Leave rubbish behind
It is important to remember that the wreck is not a pontoon or diving platform. When swimmers climb on it, the wreck breaks and collapses in parts. The Omeo is federally protected and standing on or taking parts of the wreck without a permit is an offence under the Commonwealth Underwater Cultural Heritage Act 2018.
Some tips for planning your visit
It is also important to plan your snorkelling trip and make sure you are properly equipped.
Think about bringing a flotation device – like a pool noodle or bodyboard – so that when you get tired, you won’t accidently rest on the shipwreck.
Make sure you check the conditions in advance and keep an eye out for weather, winds and currents.
There is limited parking, so investigate all nearby parking options and consider carpooling, walking or riding a bike.
A word from the City’s environmental team
The City’s Environmental Education Officer, Rafeena Boyle, said that the City had been holding discussions with the community about ways to protect the trail’s fragile ecosystem.
“We held a number of pop-ups stands at the dive stairs last summer to talk to people about their experiences, their understanding of responsible snorkelling, and what they thought the City could do more effectively to communicate around this,” Ms Boyle said.
“It was awesome to see how passionate people were about conservation. We really want to harness that passion and work together with our community to preserve the trail for future generations.”
The City is installing new educational signage at the site this summer. Its design is based on artwork that was workshopped with various local user groups. The City is planning to develop and install a permanent information display in the near future.
For more information about the trail and how you can help to protect its features check out our webpage.