Thursday, 22nd December 2016
Personal Watercraft (PWCs) provide users with an enjoyable and exhilarating experience with easy access to multiple locations on Port Phillip and Western Port. This guide provides you with key principles, regulations and safety information that will help you maximise your PWC experience through greater rider etiquette and safe PWC operation.
Personal Watercraft are a vessel
PWCs are given the same classification as any other vessel defined under the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic). This means that operators of PWCs are required to abide by the same legislative requirements as a recreational vessel operator.
Other vessels include - sailing boats, windsurfers, kiteboards, powerboats, paddle and pedal powered craft.
Naturally PWCs share the water with swimmers, anglers, surfers, divers and other vessels.
It's important for PWC operators to be respectful of other users on the bay and constantly keep a proper look out to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience.
The use of a PWC is governed by:
• Marine Safety Act and Regulations 2012
• Vessel Zoning and Operating Rules
• Local Port Rule and Harbour Masters Directions
• Council or foreshore manager beach launching rules
PWC Safety Guidelines
PWCs are great fun but they must be used responsibly for the safety of yourself and other users of Port Phillip and Western Port.
In addition to wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) and carrying the prescribed safety equipment, you should:
• Always wearing the ignition cut-out safety line
• wearing a wetsuit as it will keep you warm and aid floatation
• wearing a helmet to help prevent head injuries
Ultimately you are responsible for minimizing the risk to yourself and others.
Your adherence to the C.L.E.A.R. safety guidelines below will help you to enjoy your PWC experience safely, and will ensure that consideration is given to the safety and enjoyment of other water users in the area:
Check CONDITIONS including wind speed and direction, waves, tides and currents. Consider possible changes to conditions.
Always keep a LOOK out for and be respectful towards other waterway users including boats, swimmers and divers.
Check your EQUIPMENT before you use your PWC, ensuring you have adequate fuel and correct safety equipment onboard.
Have a respectful AITITUDE towards your PWC and the conditions and risks on the water as they are dangerous vessels.
RESPECT and be courteous to all other waterway and beach users, the law, the environment and fellow PWC users at all times and follow right of way rules.
PWC Noise Pollution
Sound travels long distances over water and can be disruptive to people seeking a more peaceful bay experience. Reduce your noise pollution by following boating safety rules and by paying close attention to the noise your vessel makes. Reducing noise complaints helps protect PWC access to the water.
Rules and Regulations
5 knot speed restrictions In Victoria all vessels, including PWCs, must slow to 5 knots or less when they are within:
• 50 m of a swimmer
• 50 m of another vessel
• 100 m of a vessel or buoy on which a 'diver below' - Code 'A' white/blue flag is displayed
• 200 m of the water's edge for most of Port Phillip and Western Port.
• 500 m of the water's edge from Mount Martha Point to Blairgowrie (due to the very shallow nature of the shore that enables swimmers to swim further from shore)
• 50 m of any wharf, jetty, slipway, diving platform, boat ramp or other structure.
5 knots is equivalent to a fast walking pace or approximately 9.2 km/hour. It always pays to leave more space than you think is necessary when approaching other vessels and water users.
No Boating Zones & No PWC Zones
PWCs are not permitted within No Boating Zones or No PWC Zones - generally shown by signage on the foreshore and yellow special marks on the water.
Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) As with all Victorian waterways, when operating within the enclosed waters of Port Phillip and Western Port operators and passengers are required to wear a PFD Type 1, 2 or 3.
Other Safety Equipment
Each PWC is required to have on board a waterproof buoyant torch at all times. An EPIRB is also required on all PWCs if operating more than 2 nm from the coast.
Approaching other Vessels
When approaching another PWC or any other vessel head-on, always alter your course to the starboard (right) - never to the port (left).This is known as the 'starboard rule' and applies to vessels operating under either wind or power.
Less manoeuvrable vessels generally have right of way. For safety PWCs should be aware of and give way to larger, less manoeuvrable vessels. For safety, PWCs should give large vessels such as ships a wide berth and keep clear of all other vessels.
Boat Licence with PWC Endorsement
The operator or master of a PWC must carry their current PWC endorsed Marine Licence on board the vessel at all times. Registration PWCs are required to be registered by VicRoads and to have the current registration label appropriately attached. It is also a requirement that the registration numbers are attached to both sides of the PWC, being of a minimum size of 1OOmm, clearly visible and in stark contrast to the background colour. Wildlife Watching When you encounter whales, seals or dolphins you should always keep a distance of at least 1OOm. Always leave animals alone, especially if they show signs of agitation such as diving or rapid changes in direction. Boating & Swimming Zone Review Following significant public consultation, Parks Victoria has reviewed all zones throughout Port Phillip and Western Port.Contemporary and future uses, safety, practicality,
When you encounter whales, seals or dolphins you should always keep a distance of at least 1OOm. Always leave animals alone, especially if they show signs of agitation such as diving or rapid changes in direction. Boating & Swimming Zone Review Following significant public consultation, Parks Victoria has reviewed all zones throughout Port Phillip and Western Port.Contemporary and future uses, safety, practicality,
Boating & Swimming Zone Review
Following significant public consultation, Parks Victoria has reviewed all zones throughout Port Phillip and Western Port. Contemporary and future uses, safety, practicality, simplicity of identification and compliance are the guiding principles for the establishment of the new zones which are being phased in over the next few years. For the latest information on the zone changes visit www.parks.vic.gov.au
Local Port Manager Parks Victoria is the local port and waterway manager for the local ports of Port Phillip, Western Port and Port Campbell.
• Parks Victoria has the accountability for the control of vessel activities and movements in the local port.
• Parks Victoria Rangers are authorised under the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) and can issue infringement notices or prosecute people who break the law. • Members of Victoria Police and Transport Safety Victoria Maritime Safety Officers also enforce the Marine Safety legislation on Victorian Waters.
Parks Victoria works in partnership with Victoria Police and Transport Safety Victoria to ensure the bays are used safely.
Source: Transport Safety