Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) is warning boaters and skiers to be on the look-out for hazards when enjoying inland waters.
Cameron Toy, Manager, Navigational Safety, explained that following a dry year water levels are lower than usual in many of the State’s inland waterways.
Without significant rainfall or allocations, the levels are likely to drop further over the summer.
“When the water levels drop hazards, such as tree stumps and fences, that are usually submerged are closer to the surface and more of a danger to users of the waterway.
“Changes to the permitted speed are automatically triggered on some waterways when the levels drop to a specified point.
“I strongly advise people engaging in high speed activities on inland waters to check the area, and visit our website for the current waterway rules, before they start the activity.
“Accidents can happen very quickly but the consequences can last a lifetime, so it pays to be more cautious than usual,” Mr Toy said.
MSV officers will be visiting popular waterways during the summer and talking to boaters about the additional dangers posed by low and variable water levels.
Trevor Yates of Bendigo Marine World said he sees an increased amount of repair work when water levels are low and endorses MSV’s advice to boaters to take more care at these times.
“Equally – if flash flooding affects a waterway you use, the hazards will be created by things washed down from upstream, such as logs and debris, and strong water flows” Mr Toy added.
The current edition of the Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR) is available at transportsafety.vic.gov.au/maritime-safety/ports-and-waterways/waterway-rules
The Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook should not be relied upon for all relevant rules that apply to a specific waterway. When unusual circumstances apply, only the VOZR provides details of the automatically triggered changes.