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Marine Safety Act and Waterway Rules

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Marine Safety Act

The Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) and Marine Safety Regulations 2012 (Vic) provide for safe marine operations in Victoria. The Act and Regulations commenced on 1 July 2012.

The Marine Safety Act 2010 replaced the Marine Act 1988 (Vic), which was reviewed to address the changing safety profile of the maritime industry and as part of a broader transport legislation review in Victoria. The Marine Safety Regulations 2012 replaced the Marine Regulations 2009 (Vic).

Access the legislation on the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website:

Key requirements

The Marine Safety Act and Regulations set out a range of requirements, including:

  • A framework to ensure recreational vessels are fit for purpose and those who operate them are properly skilled.
  • Safety duties for persons and parties responsible for marine safety.
  • Penalties and enforcement tools to address non-compliance with marine safety legislation and waterway rules.


Safe Transport Victoria (STV) is responsible for determining standards and procedures for navigation and maritime safety on state waters.

Victorian waters include all inland waters, rivers, creeks, canals, lakes and reservoirs, as well as coastal waters up to three nautical miles offshore.

Waterways rules

There are general rules for all waterways in the state and local rules for specific waterways.

The rules are designed to:

  • Provide a safe operating environment.
  • Cater for the wide range of boating and water activities.
  • Separate different activities on the basis of safety and to reflect local conditions.

Guide to vessel operating and zoning rules

Waterway rules for Victorian waterways are detailed in the Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR). This guide is available to download in PDF below. Urgent amendments to this guide are published on the Emergency or urgent waterway rules page of the Safe Transport Victoria website.

Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (PDF)

Changes to waterways rules

From time to time there may be a need to amend vessel operating and zoning rules or restrict boating activity on specified waters.

These changes will be advertised for public comment prior to approval. Once approved the changes will be gazetted and published on the Safe Transport Victoria website (click on the link below):

More information

Information about how the Act and Regulations affect waterway managers and recreational boaters is available on the Safe Transport Victoria website.