Ports and waterways

Maritime Safety Victoria assists port and waterway managers to ensure safety on Victorian waters.

We are also an appointed waterway manager for some of Victoria's waterways, as well has having oversight for unmanaged waterways.

This section explains how port and waterways are managed in Victoria and provides resources for the bodies that manage them. It also details the general State and local scheduled operating and zoning rules (known as the VOZR) for specific waterways.

Local port managers 

There are 14 local ports in Victoria, with eight different local port managers. Managers are responsible for the operation and maintenance of local ports, including:

  • Planning
  • Issuing permits and licences
  • Allocating moorings
  • Maintaining wharves, jetties and navigation aids
  • Dredging
  • Operating facilities such as slipways, and
  • Constructing new facilities.

locations of regional local ports.

  1. Portland Bay
  2. Port Fairy
  3. Warrnambool
  4. Port Campbell
  5. Apollo Bay
  6. Lorne
  7. Barwon Heads
  8. Port Phillip Bay and Queenscliff
  9. Westernport
  10. Anderson Inlet
  11. Corner Inlet
  12. Gippsland Lakes
  13. Snowy River
  14. Mallacoota

You can find a full list of local port management bodies and their contact details on the Department of Economic Development website.

Waterway managers 

The role of waterway managers is to:

  • Manage vessel activities on waters under their control
  • Allocate and manage moorings and berths
  • Provide and maintain navigation aids, appropriate signage of water levels, hazards, and rules applying to the waters
  • Control navigation and vessel movement
  • Designate areas in which anchorage of vessels is, or is not permitted
  • Alter or dredge channels for navigation
  • Remove or mark obstructions.

You can find a full list of waterway managers here or at the back of the Vessel Operating & Zoning Rules (VOZR).

Unmanaged waterways 

Unmanaged waterways do not have an appointed manager to ensure navigational safety. On these waters, the State waterway rules detailed at the start of the VOZR apply. In terms of applying for temporary waterway rule exemptions or exclusion zones these waterways are treated like MSV-managed waterways.

Commercial port managers 

Victoria's commercial trading ports are engines for Victoria's economic growth. They provide critical transfer points in Victoria's transport network and connect Victoria to international markets.

Port of Melbourne

The Port of Melbourne is owned by the Victorian public and is managed by the Port of Melbourne Corporation – a statutory authority of the State Government. It is Australia's largest container and general cargo port.

Port of Geelong

The Port of Geelong was privatised in July 1996 and is now managed by Geelong Port. It is Victoria's second largest port and the largest port in regional Victoria.

Port of Hastings

The Port of Hastings is a working commercial port that serves major international and domestic shipping movements that include import and export of oil, LPG, ULP and steel, general cargo, project cargo, ship to ship transfer, pipe laying operations and the lay up/repair of oil rigs/floating platforms. 

Port of Portland

The Port of Portland was privatised in July 1996 and is now owned and managed by the Port of Portland Pty Ltd. The Port specialises in bulk commodities, particularly agricultural, forestry and mining products as well as aluminium and fertiliser.

Resources for port and waterway managers 

As a waterway manager, port management body or local port manager you can apply for rules to be made for waterways under your control.

Our waterway managers' portal has everything waterway managers, port management bodies and local port managers need in order apply for rules to be made for waterways under your control, including permanent waterway rules, and emergency or urgent waterway rules.

Photo of a waterway marker