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Water safety

Preparation when operating a vessel is the key to ensuring that your voyage runs smoothly. This section contains important information provided to help keep you, your crew and others safe on the water.

In an emergency

Always dial 000 in an emergency

If an incident has occurred but you are not in immediate danger, report it to Victoria Police on 1800 135 729

Make sure you know what to do in the event of a:

Reviewing and practising emergency procedures should be part of your boating habits. For more information visit Maritime Safety Victoria

Reporting marine incidents and accidents

Under the Marine Safety Act reportable marine incidents include:

  • the loss or presumed loss of a vessel
  • a collision with another vessel or object
  • grounding, sinking or flooding
  • a capsized vessel
  • fire
  • structural failure or loss of stability
  • a close quarters
  • person overboard
  • vessel becoming disabled and requiring assistance
  • the fouling or damaging of any pipeline, submarine cable, lighthouse, lightship, beacon, buoy or marine mark

The Marine Safety Act requires the master to provide the following details to the police present at the scene:

  • the name and address of the master
  • the name and address of the owner of the vessel
  • the registration or survey number of the vessel.

If a person is injured and no police members are present, the master must report full details at the closest police station as soon as possible.

If any property is damaged or destroyed, and the owner, the owner's representative or police are not present, the master must report full details at the closest police station as soon as possible.

Safety equipment

Carrying the right safety equipment and knowing how to use it is essential. You must not operate a recreational vessel unless all safety equipment required to be carried onboard is easy to reach and well maintained and serviced.

Everyone on board must know what safety equipment is carried, where it is stored and how it works. Carrying safety equipment is no substitute for proper preparation. Always conduct a check of your safety equipment when planning a trip.

The equipment you need on Victorian waters varies according to:

  • The type of vessel you are operating
  • The type of waterway you are on
  • Your proximity to the shore.

For a full list of safety equipment view tables that explain what minimum safety equipment must be carried onboard

Lifejacket safety

It is a legal requirement on all but a few recreational vessels in Victoria to carry an appropriate size and type of lifejacket for each person on board. They must be stored or placed to allow quick and easy access and be in good condition and working order.

Lifejacket laws are enforced by marine authorities. Penalties apply if occupants are not wearing lifejackets when required. Penalties can also apply to the owner and masters of vessels. 

  • You must ensure that you are wearing the correct lifejacket type at all times.
  • You must ensure that your lifejacket meets the required standards
  • There must be enough lifejackets for everyone on board, and they must be correctly maintained.

Fire prevention and control

Recreational vessels are required to carry fire protection equipment in accordance with the Marine Safety Regulations.

View fire protection equipment included on vessel types.

Reviewed 09 November 2020

Contact Us

Water Police Squad and Rescue Coordination Centre

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