POLICE are readying for the busiest weekend on Victoria’s waterways since last summer as boaties and jet ski riders take advantage of eased travel restrictions.

Significant boating activity is expected along the coast and at lakes and rivers, with water police to patrol locations statewide.

It will be the first time in months many boaties and jet ski riders have taken to the water with police urging operators to make sure vessels are in working order.

They should also check weather conditions before heading out, carry the required safety equipment and always wear a lifejacket.

Analysis shows almost 80 per cent of people who drown during a boating incident in Victoria aren’t wearing a lifejacket or are wearing one incorrectly.

While the upcoming Melbourne Cup weekend and Victoria’s eased restrictions are a time for celebration, police are keen to stress the dangers of consuming alcohol while boating and warn there are significant penalties for vessel operators detected over the blood alcohol limit.

“The weekend before Melbourne Cup is traditionally one of our busiest and this year we’re bracing for an even bigger influx of boaties as they return to the water after lockdown,” Inspector Greg Barras, from the Water Police Squad, said.

“Our team will be out across the state to make sure everyone stays safe, but we need your help. Check your vessel is in working order, carry the right safety equipment and always wear a lifejacket.

“Too often we see the consequences of careless or dangerous behaviour on the water. Don’t let a bad decision be your last.”

Anyone who witnesses dangerous behaviour on the water can report non-urgent incidents via the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. In an emergency contact Triple Zero (000).