BOAT ramps and jetties across Victoria will be closed to keep everyone safe and help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Department of Transport announced this morning (Thursday, April 9).

From today, boat ramps, piers, jetties, and other marine infrastructure will be closed to recreational boating, including those run by members of private-based facilities.

The closure is in line with the Stage 3 restrictions enacted across the state, which directs that there are only four reasons to be out in public: shopping for what you need – food and essential supplies, medical, care or compassionate needs, exercise in compliance with public gathering requirements and work and study – if you can’t work or learn remotely.

Permitted activities under Stage 3 do not include recreational boating.

Recreational boating includes all forms of human powered boating, including canoeing, kayaking, surf skiing, stand up paddle boarding and rowing, all forms of powered boating such as jet skiing, and all forms of wind powered boating – yachting, kitesurfing and windsurfing.

Commercial shipping, commercial boating, land, port and waterway management functions and emergency access are exempt from these restrictions.

Department of Transport Head of Transport Services Jeroen Weimar said anyone who chose to head out on the water was putting themselves and others at risk – not only through the potential spread of coronavirus, but the additional pressure placed on emergency services and search and rescue volunteers.

“Recreational boating is not an essential activity – I urge everyone to stay home and keep off the water to keep everyone safe,” he said

“I know this is hard, but all of us can help slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Authorised officers will speak to people they see out on the water and recommend they head home.

If people do not follow the directions of the Chief Health Officer, Victoria Police can fine individuals $1652 on the spot.

To stay up to date with the latest health advice from the Department of Health and Human Services, head to their website.