​Aquatic Events Advice

Use these links to go to the relevant information

NotificationApplication process ​Risk assessment
Harbour Master's authorityContact details ​Events outside Melbourne waters


As detailed in section 2.14 of the Harbour Master’s Directions - Melbourne, the Harbour Master must receive advance notification of aquatic events held within port of Melbourne waters.

An Aquatic Event Advice (AEA) form must be lodged no less than 7 days before the event is due to take place. Applications requesting temporary waterway rule change, exemptions or an exclusion zone for an on-water event, boating activity or works need approval from Safe Transport Victoria.

Application process

  1. Download the AEA (PDF 1.8 Mb). (This is an interactive PDF. Please download the file, open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader, type in your information, save it and email directly to Ports Victoria via the link on the form.)
  2. Fill in the relevant sections on both pages of the AEA. In the section titled ‘Other relevant information’ include the specific area in which the event is to take place, routes, turning marks and any other information related to the event.
  3. Ensure the on-water contact details section is completed and correct. Failure to submit correct on-water event contact details may result in a delay to your AEA application. 
  4. Attach a map or chartlet with the proposed route or location of the event.
  5. Attach a risk assessment for the event.
  6. Email the completed AEA form, map or charlet and risk assessment to navservices@ports.vic.gov.au
  7. The Navigation Services department will review the AEA and:
    1. add the appropriate comments in the Ports Victoria comments section
    2. allocate a number to the permit, and return via email
    3. distribute the permit to Melbourne VTS, Lonsdale VTS, Pilot Service Providers, exempt masters on coastal ships, government agencies, shipping agencies, port service providers and other port stakeholders.
  8. See an example of a completed Aquatic Event Advice form for guidance (PDF).

Risk assessment

Pursuant to section 23 of the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic), event organisers must provide evidence that a risk assessment has been undertaken for the event, to:

  • eliminate risks to safety so far as is reasonably practicable; and
  • if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks to safety, to reduce those risks so far as is reasonably practicable.

Guidance for risk assessment

Step 1 – Define the risk

Interaction between commercial vessels, including domestic commercial vessels and recreational vessels.

Step 2 – Implement risk mitigations

Risk mitigations for consideration:
  • A dedicated event officer to provide support and vessel traffic information to event participants and;
  • Event participants are briefed on the requirements of Harbour Master’s Directions, Section 5.6 and the requirement to keep clear of shipping and;
  • Event participants are made aware before the start of the event of any commercial vessel traffic expected within the vicinity of the event during the expected event time and/or,
  • Reporting points for event participants at designated waypoints throughout the event to a dedicated event officer, who will provide the event participant an up-to-date commercial vessel traffic report.
Additional risk mitigations
  • For consideration when event participants are required to cross a shipping channel or fairway when transiting to or from the event area:
    • Event participants are advised of commercial vessel traffic when transiting to and from event when required to cross a shipping channel or fairway and/or;
    • Muster vessel is used to hold event participants clear of the channel or fairway when commercial vessel traffic is present. 
  • For consideration when event course crosses shipping channel, fairway or anchorage:
    • When required, delaying the start time of the event should commercial vessel traffic be present in the shipping channel, fairway or anchorage and/or;
    • Muster vessel is used to hold event participants clear of the channel, fairway or anchorage when commercial vessel traffic is present. 
  • For consideration when event occurs during the hours of darkness:
    • Vessel navigation lights are confirmed operational prior to start of the event and;
    • Consider participating event vessels be fitted with automatic identification system (AIS).
Due to the diversity of aquatic events and vessel traffic within port of Melbourne waters, the Harbour Master may impose additional conditions on the event, to ensure the safe navigation of all vessels on the water.

Harbour Master’s authority

The Harbour Master is empowered under the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) to control and direct the navigation and other movements of vessels​ in port waters.

For more information or help with applications, contact:

Navigation Services
Tel: +61 3 9644 9758
Email: navservices@ports.vic.gov.au

Events held outside port of Melbourne waters

Permission must be sought from the relevant waterway manager.

Aquatic Events Advice