Slipways and Winch Rooms

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is the responsible entity for the promotion of commercial and amateur fishing. An important service that is given to all fishermen is the management of the slipways and winch rooms scattered around the Maltese Islands. Fishermen who own larger vessels can also make use of the “Hard Standing Facility” at Marsaxlokk. This facility is equipped with cranes capable of lifting the larger vessels and deposits them on land so that maintenance work can be carried out. Smaller vessels use the slipways and winches.

Slipways come in different sizes; normally the smaller slipways are used by  amateur fishermen who usually own smaller boats while the larger slipways are used even by professional fishermen. A number of slipways are equipped with electric winches while a number of slipways are equipped with “parati” timber sleepers. The sleepers are installed so that boats can be pulled on top of these wooden beams without damaging the keel. The sleepers are usually made from very dense wood that resists the saltwater environment. The sleepers are attached to the ground with stainless steel studs. A few other slipways are for trailer use only. Boats are launched and pulled out of the water using car towed trailers from the slipways. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture makes sure that the slipways and sleepers are kept in good condition and carries out the necessary repairs and maintenance. The Department has completed the process of reconstruction of one of the slipways at Marsaskala and one of the slipways in Xemxija.

The winch rooms are situated at the top of the larger slipways. Many of the winch rooms are located in Marsaxlokk where there is the highest concentration of fishermen and fishing boats but there are also winch rooms in other places as well like Marsaskala, Birzebbugia, St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay, Kalkara and other localities. The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture takes care of the maintenance of these winches and other gear, like steel eyelets, pulleys, wire ropes, hooks and other equipment. Services Pillars that supply fishermen with electricity and water for their use, have been installed at various locations where fishermen service their boats. The users can obtain transponders from our offices and input credit for the amount they require. Another service provided by the Department. 

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture gives a lot of importance to the Health and Safety of its employees, fishermen and the public that are affected by fishing and related ancillary activities. The Health and Safety section within the Department is responsible for the implementation of the Health and Safety Policy as created and endorsed by the Director General. The slipways and the winch rooms fall under the duties of this section so that Health and Safety Laws and Regulations are strictly followed. Training and regular maintenance contribute to a safe and healthy environment, keeping the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture compliant with National and European Health and Safety Laws and regulations.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is duty bound to continue to offer the services of the slipways and winch rooms to fishermen in order to support and facilitate this important, traditional and economic activity.