Vessel speed and distance

All vessels are required to travel at a safe speed at all times. The master of a powerboat must constantly monitor the speed of the vessel to ensure that a safe speed is being maintained.

Adhere to the 5 knot rule (approximately 10kph) when close to shore, other boats (including boats at anchor) around dive flags and swimmers, fixed structures (ramps and jetties). Follow signs and buoys marking waterway zones.

Rules applying to all Victorian waters

On all Victorian waters a five knot speed limit applies to all operators within:

  • 50 m of a person, for example a swimmer
  • 50 m of another vessel
  • 100 m of a vessel or buoy on which a 'diver below' signal corresponding to the International Code Flag 'A' is displayed – a white/blue flag.

Rules applying to coastal and enclosed waters

On coastal and enclosed waters, a five knot speed limit applies to all vessels:

  • Within 200 m of the water's edge, except in an access lane
  • Within 50 m of any wharf or similar structure including a jetty, slipway, diving platform or boat ramp, except in an access lane
  • When passing through a recognised anchorage for small vessels.

Rules applying to inland waters

On inland waters a five knot speed limit applies to all vessels within:

  • 50 m of the water's edge
  • 50 m of any fixed or floating structure in or on the water.

Note: the local authority may specifically exclude waters by notice or the waters may be designated for other purposes.

More information

Both the State rules and and the local scheduled rules in place are detailed in the Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR).

The Steering and Safety Rules and the lights and shapes rules which must be displayed are set out in the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (1972). This information is available to view on the Preventing Collisions at Sea page on the International Maritime Organisation website.

This video provides an overview of the speed and distance regulations when boating on Victorian waterways. The speed rules are designed to keep boaters, swimmers and divers safe.