Follow these simple safety rules and enjoy a great day on the region's rivers and waterways.
• Never swim in fast-flowing water. Check the speed first by throwing in a twig to see how fast it travels.
Look Before You Leap
• If you are caught in a current, float on your back and travel downstream, feet first, to protect your head from impact with any objects.
• Beware of submerged objects. Trees, branches, rocks and discarded rubbish can be very dangerous.
• Be careful not to stand near the edge of overhanging river banks, which can crumble away.
• Conditions can change rapidly due to heavy rainfall or the release of water from storage areas. Remember that what is safe in the morning can be dangerous by the afternoon.
•Watch out for soft or uneven river beds, which can cause difficulties for waders or swimmers.
Many people drown in Victoria's rivers, lakes and dams or are paralysed after diving into shallow water. The best way to check it's OK to swim is to ask someone who knows the area, such as a shopkeeper, caravan park owner or park ranger.
• Lakes may look calm but are often very dangerous. Strong winds can create choppy conditions making it dangerous for swimming and boating.
• Strong currents are likely wherever a river enters a lake, and the lake bed may be soft and uneven where silt has been deposited.
• Cold water in lakes can be lethal. It is often much colder beneath the surface than you think. Suddenly submerging into cold water can cause distress, shock and lack of mobility. If you feel cold, get out of the water immediately.
A boat licence is required to operate a powerboat vessel and an appropriate licence endorsement is required to operate a personal water craft, such as jetski. Operators 12-16 years of age can apply for a restricted licence, which allows them to operate boats under certain conditions.
Boat licences can be obtained by:
1.Completing a recreational power boat operator licence test with VicRoads.
2.Completing an approved training course from an approved registered training organisation.
For more marine licence information, visit VicRoads.
Boating Safety Tips
• Before heading out, ensure that your safety equipment is on board the boat and easily accessible. Make a habit of running a regular maintenance check on your boat.
• Seek up-to-date local knowledge, particularly if you are going boating, as conditions of rivers and lakes may be affected by low water levels.
• Take extreme caution and operate your vessel at a safe speed.
• Tree stumps and other submerged objects can present a hazard to the safe operation of boat on inland waters, particularly those operating at speed. It is the responsibility of the boat operator to operate at a safe speed.
For more boat safety information, visit Transport Safety Victoria
or call 1800 223 022.