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You can now go boating under new Coronavirus Stay at Home Directions

Our message to Victorians remains the same – if you can stay home, you must stay at home.

Thanks to the efforts of Victorians to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), some restrictions have been cautiously eased to allow people to look after their health, wellbeing and social connection and that of others.

Effective from 11.59pm on Tuesday 12 May, Victorians can go fishing or boating.

Under new directions, effective from 11:59pm on Sunday 31 May, there has been further easing of restrictions. 

It’s critical that you continue to keep 1.5 metres between yourself and others on land and on-board vessels, in a group of no more than 20 people, and you practise good hygiene. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus (COVID-19), it is vital you stay at home.

Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes to their activities.

You should only leave home if you really need to. We are all being asked to make adjustments to save lives and protect our health system.

Victorians can view the new Stay at Home directions here dhhs.vic.gov.au/state-emergency

Boat ramps, piers, jetties, and other marine infrastructure have been reopened. This includes members of private based facilities.

Recreational boating includes; using personal water craft/jet ski and powered vessels for transportation or fishing, water skiing, wake sports, sailing, kayaking, wind surfing, kiteboarding or paddle sports.

Activities to enable safe recreational fishing and boating are also allowed including:

  • Travel to a dealership or retail store to pick up boating or fishing equipment
  • Accessing a vessel at a marina or on a mooring to maintain, service or check on systems and make sure it is safe and compliant (per legal obligations to do so)
  • Take a vessel to a marina or boat shed for repairs or servicing
  • Pick up vessel from a marina or boat shed after servicing
  • Pick up a vessel that you have purchased from a dealer, broker or person and tow it home.

Victoria Police are issuing on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for Victorian businesses for failing to adhere to directives.

Remember to ensure that your vessel and safety equipment is in good working order before you head out on the water.

Skippers must also remember their other safety responsibilities regarding safety equipment, alcohol consumption, keeping a proper lookout and proceeding at a safe speed.

Commercial fishing plays an important part in supplying Victorians and can continue at this time.

Stay up to date with the latest health advice from the Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus

Can I go boating?

Recreational boating is permitted. Physical distancing and mass gathering rules apply at all times. You must maintain a distance of 1.5 metres between yourself and others, in groups of no more than 20 people, including at the boat ramp and on your boat.

Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes their activities.

Can I go camping?

From 11:59pm on 31 May, camping where there are no facilities to share, e.g. back country camping, is allowed.

Tourists staying at caravan parks and camping grounds that require use of communal areas like shared bathrooms and kitchens remains subject to current restrictions and is prohibited.

Can I go to a National Park?

Under the new directions, parks may reopen for hiking and other recreational activities.

From 11:59pm on 31 May, gathering sizes can increase to 20 people.

Where possible, driving with passengers outside your household should be avoided.

Multiple groups of people should not gather close by. Keep at least 1.5 metres between yourself and other people at all times.

As always though, Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes their activities.

For information on camping read about travel restrictions.

Can I go fishing? Can I go fishing with friends? Or hunting?

 You can go fishing, while following physical distancing requirements.

Hunting is permitted within the open season for Stubble Quail, deer (except Hog Deer), hunting Sambar Deer with hounds, and ducks. The Hog Deer season is now closed.

For hunting and fishing, you must ensure 1.5 metres can be maintained between yourself and others, in groups of no more than 20 people outdoors.

Fishing or hunting competitions can’t currently occur.

Victorians are being asked to be considered and use common sense when it comes their activities.

You should only leave home if you really need to. We are all being asked to make sacrifices in order to save lives.

Can I get out on the water in my boat with a mate? It’s a small boat. Do we need to be physically distant?

You can go boating but you must maintain 1.5 metres between yourself and others.

Can I still commercially boat and fish?

Yes, commercial fishing is permitted. Yes, commercial boating is permitted. This includes aquaculture, shipping, public transport (ferries), commercial operations such as maritime construction and dredging and emergency access. Charter fishing is permitted as long as physical distancing is adhered to.

Are boat ramps and jetties open?

Yes, boat ramps, piers, jetties, and other marine infrastructure are open to recreational boating and fishing activities. This includes members of private based facilities.

Visitors are required to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres to others at these facilities, in groups of no more than 20 people.

Our message to Victorians remains the same – if you can stay home, you must stay home.

I’m a boat dealer – can I take a recreational boat out for the purposes of an on-water test or inspection?

Yes, the use of recreational vessels for the purposes of facilitating retail sales is permitted.

Can I purchase, maintain or service a boat or vessel?

Yes. Activities to enable safe recreational fishing and boating are also allowed including:

  • Travel to a dealership or retail store to pick up boating equipment
  • Access a vessel at a marina or on a mooring to maintain, service or check on systems and make sure it is safe and compliant (per legal obligations to do so)
  • Take a vessel to a marina or boat shed for repairs or servicing
  • Pick up vessel from a marina or boat shed after servicing
  • Pick up a vessel that you have purchased from a dealer, broker or person and tow it home.

When does this updated Stay at Home Directions come into force? For how long?

The updated Stay at Home Directions come into effect at 11.59pm on Sunday 31 May.

All public boat ramps, piers and jetties under your management can be open to permitted water-based activities, including; recreational fishing, recreational boating and obtaining goods and services for the purposes of purchasing and maintaining vessels.

The new directions remain while Victoria’s State of Emergency has been extended to 11.59pm on 21 June 2020.

What is the penalty if I get caught?

Breaches of physical distancing and mass gathering rules now attract significant penalties. Victoria Police are issuing on-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for Victorian businesses for failing to adhere to directives.

What local recreational boating sites does this apply to?

The Directions on recreational boating and fishing activities apply to all Victorian public recreational boating infrastructure across marine and inland waterways.

Will you be refunding my Marine License and Registration fees for the period we couldn’t go boating?

Marine license and registration money goes towards improving recreational boating facilities, safety and education programs, navigation aids and signage, delivery of our Marine Search and Rescue program and a range of other recreational boating services and projects across Victoria. This money also funds the Water Police and Marine Safety Victoria compliance officers who are continuing to patrol the waterways.

Will any waterways be closed?

We are aware of the closure of some waterways – and facilities on land provide access to waterways and boat ramps.

This includes the closure of caravan parks and camping grounds by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the closure or restricted access to some parks by Parks Victoria.

It is important to note that waterways are managed by waterway managers, port management bodies or local port managers, while any facilities on land (including boat ramps) are managed by organisations such as local councils, water authorities, committees of management or Parks Victoria.

In some instances, a waterway may be open but access may be restricted due to land closures.

As we are notified of closures, we are updating information on the Boating Vic app and website. Please note – as this is a rapidly evolving situation, there may be times when the Boating Vic app or website does not have the latest information. Please contact us on [email protected] if you know of any closures.

Do the updated Stay at Home directions apply to publicly accessible marinas?

Yes, publicly accessible marinas are open to permitted recreational boating and fishing activities. We are aware of the closure of some marinas. It is best to contact the operator of a marina directly and to ensure you are following the latest advice from the Department of Health and Human Services.

Is the use of jet skis and powered vessels included as a permitted activity under the new Stay at Home Directions?

Recreational fishing and boating are permitted activities.

Recreational boating includes; using personal water craft/jet ski and powered vessels for transportation or fishing, fishing, water skiing, wake sports, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and kiteboarding or paddle sports.

Can’t find what you’re looking for? See more boating FAQs at Maritime Safety Victoria HERE.

Stay Up To Date With The Latest Health Advice From DHHS Here

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