Definitions of waterways
The table and maps on this page detail the three categories of waterway in Victoria.
The specific operating rules for each Victorian waterway are set out in the Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR).
Inland, enclosed and coastal waters
|Inland waters||Rivers (inside the seaward entrance), creeks, canals, lakes, reservoirs and any similar waters either naturally formed or man-made and which are either publicly or privately owned but does not include any navigable rivers, creeks or streams within declared port waters.|
|Coastal waters||All waters other than inland waters or enclosed waters, and extending 3 nautical miles seaward.|
(a) Port Phillip Heads, or|
(b) Any area of State waters declared by the Safety Director.
The following waterways are recognised as Victorian waters for the purposes of transport safety legislation:
- The waters of Ovens River south of the Murray Valley Highway Bridge
- The waters of Lake Hume downstream of the Bethanga Bridge
- The waters contained within the Victorian border of the lower Glenelg River.
Waters of the Murray River, Lake Mulwala and Lake Hume not listed above are within New South Wales jurisdiction. Operators are advised that NSW legislation applies on these waters.
Download the guide: Get to know your interstate boating rules PDF, 328.2 KB
More information on the NSW Roads & Maritime Services website.
Maps showing waterway types
These maps show coastal waters coloured blue, enclosed as green, inland as grey.
- Strong tides, currents and dangerous waves may exist where enclosed waters meet coastal waters
- Enclosed waters sealed off from coastal waters may break out causing extremely dangerous conditions
Bass Strait – Port Phillip and Western Port
Designated Hazardous Area - Port Phillip Heads
Port Phillip Heads means all the waters between an imaginary line drawn between Shortland Bluff and Point Nepean, and the seaward limits of an imaginary line consisting the arc of a circle with a radius of three nautical miles centred on Point Lonsdale (as indicated in red above).
This definition of Port Phillip Heads now includes the area at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay where conditions are known to present additional risks to vessels operating there. Port Phillip Heads and any area of State waters declared by the Safety Director is classified as a Designated Hazardous Area.
Port of Portland
Port of Port Fairy
Melbourne and Port Phillip
Corner Inlet and Port Albert
Sydenham Inlet and Tamboon Inlet
Wingan Inlet and Mallacoota