Current waterway rules

Waterway rules identify: speed limits and safety distances, vessel prohibited zones, exclusive use and special purpose areas, prohibition of specific activities.  

The Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR) details the operating rules in place for Victorian waterways. There are general State Rules that apply for all waters in the State and Scheduled waterway rules that reflect local conditions for specific waterways 

Schedules for waterways detailed in this document are a reproduction of official notices published in the Victoria Government Gazette and cannot be used for legal purposes.  Each Schedule as reproduced is referenced with the relevant Gazette number(s) in a table at the end of the Schedule.

Waterway rules are designed to provide a safe operating environment, to cater for the wide range of boating and water activities, to separate different activities where needed on the basis of safety, and to reflect local conditions.

The Schedules reproduced in this section are Notices made under either the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) (MSA) or the preceding Marine Act 1988 (Vic) (MA).  The table at the end of each Schedule also details the legislation that the waterway rule has been made under.

Index to Schedules

The table provides an alphabetical list of Victorian waterways, alongside the name of the associated waterway manager and schedule number.

Note: Waterway manager the Department of Sustainability and Environment is now the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).

Waters

Waterway Manager

Sch

Aire River downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge Department of Sustainability and Environment 118
Albert Park Lake Parks Victoria 151
Allans Flat Lake The Committee of Management of Allans Flat Recreation Reserve Inc. 100
Anglesea River, from Bass Strait to Coal Mine Road, Anglesea Unmanaged 13
Balcombe Creek within the Shire of Mornington Peninsula Mornington Peninsula Shire Council 127
Barmah State Park (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 120
Barwon River between the Lower Breakwater and Orana Road Corangamite Catchment Management Authority 7
Barwon River upstream of the Local Port of Barwon Heads to the Lower Breakwater Department of Sustainability and Environment 131
Bass Strait – Anglesea – Point Roadknight Director, Transport Safety 136
Bass Strait – South Gippsland – Cape Liptrap Director, Transport Safety 138
Bass Strait – South Barwon – Torquay Director, Transport Safety 11
Bass Strait – Urquharts Bluff Director, Transport Safety 15
Bass Strait – Warrnambool – Lady Bay Director, Transport Safety 148
Beaufort Park Lake Pyrenees Shire Council 128
Blackburn Lake Whitehorse City Council 12
Blue Rock Lake Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Corporation 113
Bolwarra Weir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Bostock Reservoir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Bridgewater Lakes (Discovery Bay Coastal Park) Department of Sustainability and Environment 134
Broken River within the boundaries of Benalla Rural City including Lake Benalla Director, Transport Safety 93
Browns Swamp Department of Sustainability and Environment 119
Cairn Curran Reservoir Goulburn-Murray Water 52
Cherry Lake, Altona Unmanaged 121
Clover Dam AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Curdies River and Curdies Inlet between French’s Bridge and the Great Ocean Road Bridge at Peterborough Curdies Inlet and Recreation Reserve Committee of Management 24
Deep Lake Unmanaged 37
Dock Lake Unmanaged 141
Ex – HMAS Canberra Reserve Parks Victoria 153
Fitzroy River Department of Sustainability and Environment 25
Fletcher’s Dam Unmanaged 101
Gellibrand River (downstream of the bridge at Princetown) Department of Sustainability and Environment 21
Glenelg River within Victoria between the mouth and the junction with the Crawford River at Dartmoor Department of Sustainability and Environment 31
Goldfields Reservoir Central Goldfields Shire Council 50
Goulburn River from Hughes Creek to Goulburn Weir including Lake Nagambie Strathbogie Shire Council 91
Goulburn River upstream of the Goulburn Weir  to the Eildon Pondage Director, Transport Safety 88
Green Hill Lake Ararat Rural City Council 54
Green Lake (within Green Lake Regional Park) unmanaged 72
Green Lake (near Horsham) Horsham Rural City Council 78
Greens Lake (near Corop) Goulburn-Murray Water 60
Gunbower Creek Gannawarra Shire Council 73
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 80
Hazelwood Cooling Pond Unmanaged 110
Heywood Lake Department of Sustainability and Environment 81
Hollands Lake Unmanaged 157
Hopkins River between the seaward outlet and Tooram Stones Warrnambool City Council 22
Junction Dam at Bogong AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Kangaroo Lake Gannawarra Shire Council 140
Kiewa and Rubicon Hydro Electric Scheme waters AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Kings Billabong Wildlife Reserve (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 84
Korweinguboora Reservoir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Laanecoorie Reservoir Goulburn-Murray Water 65
Lake Albacutya National Park (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 75
Lake Banimboola (Dartmouth Pondage) Goulburn-Murray Water 115
Lake Batyo Catyo Unmanaged 86
Lake Bellfield Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation 45
Lake Benalla Director, Transport Safety 93
Lake Boga Swan Hill Rural City Council 74
Lake Bolac The Lake Bolac Foreshore Committee of Management Inc. 40
Lake Buffalo Goulburn-Murray Water 96
Lake Bullen Merri Director, Transport Safety 116
Lake Burrumbeet Ballarat City Council 43
Lake Carpull Department of Sustainability and Environment 82
Lake Catani (within Mount Buffalo National Park) Department of Sustainability and Environment 89
Lake Charlegrark The Lake Charlegrark Recreation Reserve Committee Inc. 145
Lake Charm Gannawarra Shire Council 139
Lake Colac Director, Transport Safety 146
Lake Connewarre Department of Sustainability and Environment 131
Lake Cormorant Unmanaged 122
Lake Costin Department of Sustainability and Environment 17
Lake Craven Department of Sustainability and Environment 16
Lake Cullulleraine Mildura Rural City Council 79
Lake Dartmouth Goulburn-Murray Water 99
Lake Eildon and Eildon Pondage Goulburn-Murray Water 90
Lake Eppalock Goulburn-Murray Water 49
Lake Fyans Unmanaged 70
Lake Glenmaggie Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Corporation 111
Lake Hamilton Southern Grampians Shire Council 38
Lake Heron Unmanaged 122
Lake Hindmarsh Hindmarsh Shire Council 61
Lake Hordern Department of Sustainability and Environment 18
Lake Hume Goulburn-Murray Water 95
Lake Ibis Unmanaged 122
Lake Kerferd Unmanaged 102
Lake Kingfish Unmanaged 122
Lake Learmonth Ballarat City Council 64
Lake Linlithgow and Bullrush Swamp Unmanaged 36
Lake Lonsdale Unmanaged 71
Lake Lysterfield Department of Sustainability and Environment 6
Lake Meering (Meran) Gannawarra Shire Council 137
Lake Mombeong Department of Sustainability and Environment 28
Lake Moodemere Parks Victoria 129
Lake Nagambie Strathbogie Shire Council 91
Lake Narracan Latrobe City Council 130
Lake Nillahcootie Goulburn-Murray Water 97
Lake Powell Department of Sustainability and Environment 83
Lake Purrumbete The Lake Purrumbete Frontage Reserve Committee of Management Inc. 35
Lake Reedy Department of Sustainability and Environment 131
Lake Reeve Department of Sustainability and Environment 106
Lake Sambell Indigo Shire Council 149
Lake Shelduck Unmanaged 122
Lake Spoonbill Unmanaged 122
Lake Surprise (within Mount Eccles National Park) Department of Sustainability and Environment 39
Lake Tooliorook Corangamite Shire Council 34
Lake Toolondo Horsham Rural City Council 144
Lake Tyers Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 105
Lake Victoria Central Goldfields Shire Council 51
Lake Wallace West Wimmera Shire Council 66
Lake Wartook Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation 47
Lake Weeroona Greater Bendigo City Council 48
Lake Wendouree Ballarat City Council 42
Lake William Hovell Goulburn-Murray Water 92
Laverton Creek, upstream of the outlet to Port Phillip Bay to Queen Street, Altona Unmanaged 124
Little Lake Boort Loddon Shire Council 53
Local Port of Anderson Inlet Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 114
Local Port of Barwon Heads Barwon Coast Committee of Management Inc. 10
Local Port of Corner Inlet and Port Albert Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 132
Local Port of Gippsland Lakes Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 104
Local Port of Mallacoota Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 109
Local Port of Port Fairy Moyne Shire Council 20
Local Port of Port Phillip Parks Victoria 1
Local Port of Snowy River Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 107
Loch Garry Goulburn-Murray Water 94
Loddon River (at Bridgewater between Flour Mill Weir and Sweeneys Lane) Loddon Shire Council 62
Loddon River, within the Shire of Loddon Loddon Shire Council 63
Lower Stoney Creek Reservoir Unmanaged 8
Malseeds Lake Department of Sustainability and Environment 29
Maribyrnong River upstream of Shepherd Bridge on Footscray Road Parks Victoria 4
Melton Reservoir Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Corporation 150
Merri River between the seaward outlet and the Bromfield Street Weir Warrnambool City Council 23
Middle and Reedy Lakes Goulburn-Murray Water 46
Mitta Mitta River between the top water line of Lake Hume and the junction of the river with Callaghans Creek Director, Transport Safety 117
Moora Moora Reservoir Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation 154
Mount Beauty Regulating Pondage AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Nhill Lake Nhill Lake Reserve Committee of Management 147
Northern Grampians Shire – All rivers and streams within the Shire Unmanaged 59
Painkalac Creek, from Bass Strait to Boundary Road, Aireys Inlet Unmanaged 14
Pine Lake Unmanaged 142
Port Campbell Bay Parks Victoria 152
Port waters of the Port of Melbourne Port of Melbourne Corporation (as the appointed Port Management Body) 2
Pretty Valley Dam Department of Sustainability and Environment 156
Pykes Creek Reservoir Gippsland and Southern Rural Water Corporation 41
Railway Weir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Rocklands Reservoir Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation 44
Rocky Valley Dam Department of Sustainability and Environment 156
Royston Dam AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Rubicon Dam AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Rubicon Falls Dam AGL Hydro Partnership 98
Shallow Inlet Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 103
She Oaks Weir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Skeleton Creek upstream of the outlet to Port Phillip to Point Cook Road, Altona and Werribee Unmanaged 123
St. Arnaud Reservoir Unmanaged 56
St. George’s Lake Director, Transport Safety 125
Surrey River (between the seaward outlet and the Princes Highway Bridge) The Committee of Management of Narrawong Camping and Recreation Reserve Corporation 26
Surrey River (upstream of the Princes Highway Bridge) Unmanaged 27
Swan Lake Department of Sustainability and Environment 30
Tamboon Inlet from the seaward outlet and all navigable waters with an opening to that inlet’ Gippsland Ports Committee of Management Inc. 108
Taylors Creek Unmanaged 19
Taylors Lake (Horsham) Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation 143
Taylors Lake – Keilor Unmanaged 122
Tchum Lake South Tchum Lake Aquatic Club Incorporated 155
Teddington Reservoir No. 1 (Upper Kara Kara State Park) Department of Sustainability and Environment 57
Teddington Reservoir No. 2 Unmanaged 58
Upper Stony Creek Reservoir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Victoria Park Lake, Shepparton Greater Shepparton City Council 126
Volcano Storage Unmanaged 55
Waranga Basin Goulburn-Murray Water 85
Wathe Wildlife Reserve (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 76
West Barwon Reservoir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Western Port Bay Parks Victoria 5
Wilsons Promontory National Park (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 112
Wimmera River (within the boundaries of Horsham Rural City) Horsham Rural City Council 69
Wimmera River (within the Shire of Hindmarsh) Hindmarsh Shire Council 68
Winton Wetlands Winton Wetlands Committee of Management 87
Wooroonook Lakes Buloke Shire Council 133
Wurdee Boluc Reservoir Barwon Region Water Corporation 8
Wyperfeld National Park (all waters) Department of Sustainability and Environment 77
Yarra River upstream of the port waters of the Port of Melbourne Parks Victoria 3
Yarriambiack Creek (within the Shire of Yarriambiack) Unmanaged 67

Download the VOZR to read the Schedules.

Waterway rule notifications

Below is information about proposed new or amended waterway rules and the reasons Safe Transport Victoria has made or changed a waterway rule. 

Follow the links to view the following new or amended rules on the Victoria Government Gazette website. Links will open in a new window.

The following documents outline our reasons for making or not making a requested waterway rule. The rule is not current until published in the list above.

Follow the links to view current requests from waterway managers to propose waterway rules on the Victoria Government Gazette website. Links will open in a new window.


Temporary exemptions and exclusions

If you want to conduct boating activity or hold an on-water event and need an exemption or a modification from a rule to do so a boating activity exemption is required for the duration of the event.

An exclusion zone is a form of control measure that can help keep other persons and vessels away from a higher risk activity or event or works and help control an activity/event by keeping the participants in the specified area for the duration of an event(s). They are typically used for high risk or high-speed events or for works activity.

Below is a list of declarations and notices relating to temporary rule exemptions and/or waterway closures for boating activity,
special events or works on, over or under waters we manage and unmanaged waters.

Waterway managers, port management bodies and local port managers publish their own boating activity exemption declarations and activity exclusion zone and works notices for waters under their control, on their websites. 

Dates: 17-18 February 2024, 16 March 2024, 24 March 2024, and 27-28 April 2024

View the Declaration of Exemptions

View the Notice of Exclusion Zone

Date: 24 February 2024

View the Declaration of Exemptions

View the Notice of Exclusion Zone

Date Range: 21 October 2023 – 24 March 2024

View the Declaration of Exemptions

View the Notice of Exclusion Zone

 

Lake Colac, 4 July to 31 October 2023 – 100m exclusion around Lake Colac No. 1 Regulator. View the Government Gazette Notice on the Victoria Government Gazette website.

Surfing Victoria 2023-2024 Season exemptions, various Coastal waters. Various dates between 27 August 2023 – 31 July 2024. View the Declaration of Exemptions.

Various dates between: 9 December 2023 – 6 April 2024

View the Declaration of Exemptions

View the Notice of Exclusion Zone

Dates: 22 January – 1 December 2024

View the Notice of Exclusion Zone


Emergency or urgent waterway rules

Below is a list of current emergency waterway closures, emergency operating rules and urgent safety rules on Victorian waterways.

Until further notice

The waterway rules as detailed in Schedule 49, Lake Eppalock, Clause 49.6 and 49.2(b)(i) as published in the Victoria Government Gazette, S221 on 28 June 2012 are temporarily revoked for the term of this Urgent Safety Rule.

This urgent safety rule is published in the Victoria Government Gazette No. S 696 Thursday 24 December 2020

Map of restricted area

Map showing location of points

Until further notice

A 5 knot speed restriction applies to the waters of Lake Eppalock upstream of The Strait including Metcalfe Pool and Madden Reach when the water level is 185.0 AHD or less.

This urgent safety rule is published in the Victoria Government Gazette No. G 45 Thursday 7 November 2019

Until further notice

The new lake opened to boaters on 6 October 2019.

This urgent safety rule is published in the Victoria Government Gazette No. S 403 Thursday 3 October 2019

Until further notice

The waters of Goulburn River beneath Chinamans Bridge and immediately upstream and downstream of the bridge as marked by lines of yellow buoys are prohibited to vessels, excluding Span 6 of the bridge that remains open for vessels to transit under the bridge.

This urgent safety rule is published in the Victoria Government Gazette No. S 536 Monday 12 November 2018


Conditional waterway rules

A number of Victorian waterways have conditional rules that apply under certain circumstances.

These conditional rules are to address safety risks and often significantly change what activities can be performed on the waterway.

The conditional rules for waterways are described in detail in the Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules for Victorian waters.

Note: On this page, AHD refers to the Australian Height Datum.

Water level – Lake Boga 
Refer to Schedule 074
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 67.5m
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 67.5m 5 knots all waters

Water level – Cairn Curran
Refer to Schedule 052
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 200.0 m AHD (27%)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 13% and Less than 27%
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 13% 5 knots all waters

Water Level – Lake Eppalock
Refer to Schedule 049
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 180.0m
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 180.0m (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Hazelwood
Refer to Schedule 110
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 200mm below spillway
Vessel Operating Rules 200mm or more below spillway (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Laanecoorie
Refer to Schedule 065
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than (31.5%) 158.4 m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than (31.5%) 158.4 m AHD (Speed restrictions apply)

Water Level – Lake Glenmaggie
Refer to Schedule 111
Water Level Southern Rural Water
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 25% (5 knots all waters)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 25% and Less than 44% (5 knots some sections)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 44%

Water Level – Lake Hume
Refer to Schedule 095
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 11%, 171.2m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 11%, 171.19m AHD (Speed restrictions apply)

Water Level – Lake Nagambie
Refer to Schedule 091
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 123.9m (5 knots all waters)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 123.9m

Water Level – Lake Narracan
Refer to Schedule 130
Water Level Southern Rural Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 55%, 46.50 AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 54.99%, 45.499 AHD (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Melton Reservoir
Refer to Schedule 150
Water Level Southern Rural Water
Vessel Operating Rules Less than (15%)74 AHD (5 knots all waters)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than (15%) 74 AHD & Less than (20%) 75.0m AHD (Speed restrictions apply)
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than (20%) 75.0m AHD

Water Level – Pykes Creek
Refer to Schedule 041
Water Level Southern Rural Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 385.5m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 385.5m AHD (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Waranga Basin
Refer to Schedule 085
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 114.38 m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 114.38 m AHD (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Lake Lonsdale
Refer to Schedule 071
Water Level GM Water
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 1.499m
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 1.499m (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Lake Wendouree
Refer to Schedule 042
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 450.4m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 450.4m AHD (Powered vessels prohibited)

Water Level – Gunbower Creek
Refer to Schedule 073
Vessel Operating Rules 15 May to 15 August (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Lake Charlegrark
Refer to Schedule 145
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 1.8m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 1.8m AHD (5 knots all waters)

Water Level – Lake Wartook
Refer to Schedule 047
Vessel Operating Rules Water release of 500 mega litres or less
Vessel Operating Rules Water release of 500 mega litres or more (Vessels Prohibited)

Water Level – Lake Fyans
Refer to Schedule 71
Vessel Operating Rules Greater than 1.5m AHD
Vessel Operating Rules Less than 1.5m AHD (5 knots all waters)


Waterway Safety Monitoring System (WSMS)

Safe Transport Victoria is continuing to pilot a waterway safety camera system, called the Waterway Safety Monitoring System (WSMS), at various locations across Victoria.

The WSMS will gather important information about the operation of vessels on Victorian waterways, help ST Vic to understand the risks associated with waterway usage, and help improve the safety of all waterway users.

Based on an approach used in other Australian jurisdictions, the Waterway Safety Monitoring System (WSMS) will use a mobile trailer mounted camera system to capture footage of vessel operations and then process that footage (video and photographic) to determine if vessels have breached established waterway rules.

Placing the WSMS at different locations will allow the system to “learn” how to accurately detect different vessel types and waterway environments, and assess whether waterways rules have been breached.

No infringement notices will be issued during the initial “learning” phase of the pilot program.

However, in future phases of the program, infringement notices may be issued to registered vessel owners where breaches of established waterway rules have been detected

Locations where the WSMS camera system will be piloted include:

  • Rye foreshore
  • Safety Beach
  • Half Moon Bay
  • Patterson River Entrance
  • Lake Nagambie – McNamara Point (Rowing Course)
  • Bonnie Doon – Maintongoon Ramp No 1
  • Yarra River rowing course (downstream of Swan St Bridge on southern landing prior to Judge’s Box)

Signage will be displayed on the trailer as well as entry/exit points to carparks in these areas.

For further information on the WSMS pilot please contact us .

For further information about how we will handle personal information, please see our Privacy Policy.

 

Waterway Safety Monitoring System (WSMS)

The primary purpose of the WSMS will be to:

  • observe vessel operator compliance with marine safety laws, to ultimately improve safety for all waterway users
  • monitor how effectively waterway risks are being addressed at a location by existing Waterway Rules
  • identify whether previously unobserved (new) risks are prevalent at a waterway that need to be addressed (ie congestion)
  • gather evidence to support the introduction of new or amended Waterway Rules or campaigns to address observed risks, and emerging vessel types and operations
  • determine whether a breach of Waterway Rules has taken place by an operator.

 

The WSMS uses sophisticated machine learning algorithms to determine if specified criteria (based on Waterway Rules) are breached including:

  • A vessel exceeding 5 knots on a waters (where a 5 knot speed limit apply)
  • A vessel operating in a vessel prohibited area (primarily in front of life saving clubs)
  • A PWC performing irregular riding in areas where irregular riding is prohibited
  • A vessel operator not wearing a Personal Floatation Device (PFD)
  • A vessel operating without current registration

Information collected by the WSMS will include vessel attributes (registration number, type, length, colour), vehicle and vessel trailer registration (as a by-product within the field of view of the cameras), and photographic/video information of vessel operators and passengers. This information will only be used if it is determined that waterway rules have been breached. All information will be stored in accordance with Victorian Government data security requirements.

Once operational, if breaches to Waterway Rules are detected by the WSMS, it will generate a report for independent review by ST Vic Transport Safety Officers.