Distance off rules

A safe distance and speed between a vessel and another object (including another vessel) is a distance and speed that will ensure that your vessel will not cause danger or injury to any other object, having regard to all relevant safety factors including weather conditions at the time, visibility, speed of the vessel and obstructions to navigation that are present.

You need to know the minimum safe distance for a variety of situations to ensure you abide by Victorian laws and prevent and unnecessary accidents/injuries to those around you.

There are a few important notes regarding distance off.

  • When speed is 5 knots or greater maintain 50m minimum distance from a waters edge on inland waters.
  • When speed is 5 knots or greater maintain 200m minimum distance from a waters edge on enclosed and coastal waters

For persons in the water, you must abide by the following rule:

  • When speed is 5 knots or greater maintain 50m minimum distance from a swimmer on all Victorian waters

Diver below

Any vessel with divers operating from it must always display signals by day or night to inform other vessel users. The daytime signal for divers is an international Code Flag ‘A’. It should be placed to ensure all-round visibility.

Slow down and stay well clear. You must keep 100 metres away from divers and a dive flag in the water. Always keep a lookout for this flag when you’re out on the water.


Mooring Areas

On many waterways in Victoria, areas are set aside for the mooring of vessels. These vessels are not required to be lit at night and the masters of other vessels must be aware of the location of such moorings.

Check local maps or charts or contact VicRoads for details of mooring areas.

When navigating near, in or through a mooring area: 

  • Drive slowly and keep wash to a minimum
  • Keep a lookout for people in the water, small dinghies, and trailing ropes