Water Police will have a highly visible presence this weekend across Port Phillip Bay for Operation Southend, as people flock to enjoy everything Victorian beaches have to offer.
With people now able to visit coastal areas and waterways, police have seen an increase of dangerous behaviour and in some cases serious marine incidents in waters extending from Mount Martha to Sorrento.
Police are urging boaters and personal watercraft (PWC) users to be mindful of laws in areas where waters are shared with swimmers.
Officers from Water Police as well as Southern Region Division 4 will be enforcing water safety from boat ramps to popular beaches, focusing compliance with water safety rules, to reduce the number of marine incidents and collisions caused by unsafe behaviour.
Police will continue to be active in the area over the coming weeks and will aim to ensure that speeding and distance rules for both vessels and PWC are observed.
Anyone who witnesses dangerous behaviour on the water can report non-urgent incidents via the Police Assistance Line 131 444, in an emergency contact Triple 000.
Operation Southend will run from Saturday 19 December to Sunday 20 December.
As noted by Water Police Sergeant Dave McHenry
“It’s fair to say that more incidents occur with more people out and about – especially over long weekends and the holiday period. We know that recreational boating and PWC use is extremely popular in the bay. People need to be mindful that dangerous and reckless behaviour will not be tolerated. We want everyone to enjoy themselves safely, however Victoria Police will not hesitate to hold people to account who fail to observe marine safety laws.”
“Recently we’ve seen an increase in the number of reported incidents and in some cases collisions and serious injuries. Jet-skis are not toys. They’re large, heavy, fast-moving machines and the results of a collision, be it with a swimmer or another vessel, can be catastrophic.”
“Jet-ski users need to know the rules of the water and adhere to them or, as this operation shows, police will catch up with you. Boat or PWC users speeding and operating too close to other vessels or swimmers is of a real concern to police.”