• Public spaces, sports and recreation

Port Melbourne Yacht Club Upgrades

Published 5 May 2022
Upgrade club facilities to support increased yachting in Port Phillip Bay and increased resilience to climate change.

The contents of this page have been archived. This represents Council’s advocacy position prior to the 2022 State and Federal elections.

For updated information on any of these projects, please contact Council.

Port Melbourne Yacht Club has been operating on the Port Melbourne foreshore since 1889, offering racing, a sailing school, boat storage, recreational sailing and community access to the water.

What is the ask?

Council is requesting the Victorian Government to fund the redevelopment of Port Melbourne Yacht Club (PMYC) core assets.

What is the issue this initiative will address?

PMYC is one of the leading clubs for off-the-beach sailing on Port Phillip Bay. The club has been operating on the Port Melbourne foreshore since 1889, with its iconic club house replacing one destroyed by fire in 1990. The club offers racing, a sailing school, boat storage, recreational sailing and community access to the water at the top of the bay with the stunning backdrop of the Melbourne skyline and easy access via public transport.

Several core assets of the club are very close to the end of their useful life. Their loss would render the club and the services it delivers to the community unviable.

What is Council proposing?

The residential population around Port Melbourne is expanding rapidly. Fishermans Bend is Australia’s largest urban renewal project, covering 480 hectares, and will be home to 80,000 residents by 2050.  The wider City of Port Phillip is also expected to grow from 117,420 residents in 2020 to 176,816 by 2041.

This residential population growth will place major extra demands on local recreational resources. The beachfront in Port Melbourne is a critical resource, with PMYC a key asset. 

PMYC has developed a vision for the site that reflects this expanded future demand for its services as well as projections for climate change. Stage 1 of the club’s vision involves the replacement of two core assets: the main boatshed and the dinghy storage deck.

The project will:

  • retain and increase the club’s ability to support and promote activity-based watersports, generating recreational, health and wellbeing benefits for members and the wider community
  • expand community access and use of the facilities through the provision of shared spaces that will be available to wider community groups including Albert Park College, which has an active water sports curriculum. This will generate community and educational benefits
  • support the commercial and economic health of businesses at the end of Bay Street by expanding community and tourist access to the bay.

How does this initiative align with the Council Plan and Victorian Government priorities?


Council Plan 2021-31:  Inclusive Port Phillip - a City that is a place for all members of our community, where people feel supported and comfortable being themselves and expressing their identities.

  • We are working towards Port Phillip as a place where people of all ages, genders, backgrounds and abilities can access services and facilities that enhance health and wellbeing through universal and targeted programs that address inequities.
  • We will partner with local sporting clubs, schools and recreation providers to facilitate participation in recreation and leisure activities to enable everyone in our community to be more active.
  • We will partner with sport and recreation providers to improve access and gender equity within their programs.
  • Council does not have an endorsed position on this request; however, it has requested its inclusion.

The project is consistent with outcomes in our Sports and Recreation Strategy 2015-2024.

Victorian Government

Upgrading the facility will attract visitors from across the region and increase broader community participation, particularly women, young people and people with disability. PMYC has an active women’s program and events specifically targeting enhanced participation by younger women sailors.

The project therefore supports the following Victorian Government priorities:

  • commitment to increasing the number of women and girls participating in sport and active recreation, from grassroots through to senior leadership roles
  • Sport and Recreation Victoria’s work to inspire women and girls to participate and become leaders in sport at all levels
  • Sport and Recreation Victoria initiatives that create more participation opportunities for all Victorians, including building a more sustainable and inclusive sport and recreation sector. This includes section '1.5 Sport and recreation' of the new Inclusive Victoria: State Disability Plan 2022-2026
  • support for under-represented groups experiencing barriers to participation in sport and recreation. The new facilities will also allow the club to work with Albert Park College to support access to water sports by under-represented groups.

How does this initiative assist the community to recover from COVID-19?

  • The project will create short-term jobs in the design, construction and fit-out of the proposed new boatshed and deck.
  • It will engage and enhance community connection with this key community asset through a structured program of stakeholder consultation. This will build local ownership of the design and use of the facilities.
  • It will support local traders and businesses by enhancing the vitality of this key local asset at the end of Bay Street.
  • It will attract tourists and visitors to the area, increasing the commercial viability of neighbouring businesses.
  • The new deck and walkway between the beaches on either side of the club will enhance public access to the beach.

Cost and current status?


The project involves two main elements:

  • The boatshed
  • The boat storage deck.

The boatshed

The current boatshed is a single storey building constructed in 1960, 36 metres long and 20 metres wide, with a sloping, pitched roof with asbestos sheet covering.  Side panels alongside the boatshed are constructed of corrugated sheet. 

The roof-trusses, roof covering, and side panels are corroded and close to the end of their useful life.  High winds from a major storm on the bay could result in significant damage to the structure and render it unusable.

The proposal is to replace the existing boatshed with a new building with the same footprint at ground-level but with two storeys. This would then serve a range of functions, both for the club itself and for the local community:

  • boat storage on the ground floor, with multi-level racking to increase capacity to match increased demand
  • renewed changing rooms and showers, with an emphasis on gender equity, with public access to toilets
  • small-scale commercial ventures at ground-level such as a coffee outlet, to attract the public to this end of Bay Street
  • multi-purpose meeting rooms upstairs to service the needs of the club and the local community. Albert Park College has expressed interest in using the space during the school day for teaching water related activities and skills.

The new boatshed would be constructed with a high emphasis on sustainability in terms of materials and construction techniques. It would also begin a process of moving club functions further up the beach to be aligned with a policy of anticipating projected climate change impacts and risks.

A first order estimate of the cost of the works required for the boatshed generates an overall cost of $5 million.  This is based on the costs of similar projects alongside Port Phillip Bay and the professional judgment of advisers in the field.

Boat-storage deck

The boat-storage deck is a wooden deck, 35m in length and 20m wide, supported by timber piles sunk into the sloping beach.  Half of the length of the deck is located on the beach above the high-water level and half is projected out over the Bay. Members of the public can walk underneath the deck to access the beaches on either side of the club.

Many of the original timber piles supporting the deck were showing decay and erosion from saltwater and storm action and were replaced on a temporary basis with steel props. The structure requires replacement in the near future. 

The proposal is to replace the existing deck with the additional functionality of a boat-ramp from the deck down into the water to facilitate access to the bay. At present, boats must be dragged manually up through the club, along a roadway and then down the full-length of the beach.  This could also provide public access across the site to facilitate access between the two beaches.

The new deck could form part of a wider expanded functionality in a second stage of the project with an extension of the deck into a breakwater to respond to increased storm surge and to provide a safer calm water area for younger water users. 

A first order estimate of the costs of the works required to demolish the deck and replace it as is with an added ramp is about $800,000. This estimate is based on the costs incurred in 2019 to construct a similar decking alongside the bay frontage of the club.


  • A masterplan/strategy developed and paid for by internal club resources sets out a three-stage structured approach over the next 25 years. This provides confidence that the Stage 1 works proposed are well-founded and form part of a longer-term strategic framework.
  • Scoping and preliminary designs have been completed, with first order cost estimates.
  • If funding is provided it is estimated the works could be completed in two years.