If you see dangerous or life threatening behaviour on the water, call '000' and immediately report the incident to the Police.
There are rules about what you can do in different areas when you visit our beaches and foreshore. These rules set out zones where you can safely swim without vessels, enjoy wind sports like kiteboarding and sailboarding or share swimming with vessels including personal watercraft (PWC or jet skis).
Zones are clearly marked with signage on the shore and navigation markers in the water.
These State Government rules and zones are designed to keep everyone safe when they are enjoying the bay and beaches. Breaking these rules can mean an on-the-spot fine or seizure of vessels.
Where is it swimming only?
Swimming only zones are the safest areas to swim in the bay. There are located:
- In front of Sandridge, Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Elwood Life Saving Clubs
- On Middle Park Beach between Wright and Armstrong streets
- The entire length of St Kilda Beach from St Kilda Pier to Marina Reserve.
No vessels including personal watercraft, powered and non-powered vessels are allowed in these areas.
Where is it shared swimming and boating (up to 5 knots)?
All other areas within 200m of the shore are shared boating and swimming zones. This means motorised and human-powered vessels are allowed amongst swimmers at speeds up to 5 knots (8 km per hour).
We encourage swimmers to use the swimming only zones near the life saving clubs.
Where is it shared wind sport?
The shared wind sport zone is located in the St Kilda Harbour. This area is set aside for kiteboarding, sailboarding and other wind-based boating. Vessels may exceed 5 knots (8 km per hour) except when within 50 metres of swimmers, other vessels or fixed or floating structures. There is no licencing or competency testing for recreational wind sport vessel operators. Other vessels are allowed in this area.
For maps and full details of zones in Port Phillip, download Parks Victoria's Boating and Swimming Zones summary brochure
Personal watercraft (PWC) and jet ski behaviour
There are laws about the responsible use of personal watercrafts and jet skis under the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic). This includes:
- Personal watercrafts and other vessels are not permitted to enter or remain in dedicated swimming only zones
- In other areas, personal watercrafts and other vessels must not exceed five knots (8 km per hour) within 200 metres of the shore
- Personal watercrafts and other vessels must not exceed five knots (8 km per hour) within 50 metres of swimmers, other vessels and fixed or floating structures.
Download the flyer: PWC Jet Ski Information Sheet - Message to all Beach Users (PDF 612 KB)
On-the-spot fines are applicable for operators found to be contravening these rules.
On-water hoon laws
Hoon behaviour is dangerous and may cause someone to get hurt. It can include:
- Performing 'doughnuts' within 50 metres of swimmers or other water users
- Speeding more than 5 knots (8km/h) within 50 metres of swimmers or within 200 metres of the shore.
Victoria Police may seize, impound or immobilise vessels, including PWCs if it is believed they are being or have been used in committing a relevant offence.
If you see dangerous or life-threatening behaviour on the water, call '000' and immediately report the incident to the Police.