Bays and Waterways Event Permit application guidelines
Parks Victoria manages a variety of inland river systems, ports, bays and lakes which offer a range of spectacular locations for hosting a water-based event.
Any person wanting to hold an event in one of the below waterways will need to apply for a Parks Victoria event permit:
- Port Phillip and Western Port Bay
- Port Campbell
- Yarra River
- Maribyrnong River
- Patterson River
- Lake Moodemere
- Albert Park Lake
- Victoria Harbour
- ex-HMAS Canberra Reserve
- all Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries and Reserves.
There is a formal Call for Dates process for events at the Yarra or Maribyrnong Rivers, Victoria Harbour and National Water Sports Centre. More information is available on the Call for Dates page.
Who should submit a Bays and Waterways event application?
- An application should be completed by persons who propose to conduct a Bays or Waterways organised activity on Parks Victoria managed waters.
- An organised activity refers to:
Any boat race, regatta, swimming race, competition, tournament, festival, concert, promotion, fireworks display (must be held in conjunction with events of local, state or international significance), or any other similar event.
Event permit lead times
Parks Victoria requires 12 weeks to process a Bays and Waterways permit application from when all required documentation is received. Due to the high volume of applications, event permit applications received outside this timeframe will not be accepted.
Multiple dates and parks can be nominated in one application.
Recently the Victorian Government has introduced updated Marine Safety Regulations (2023) to improve safety for Victorian boaters, the new regulations came into effect on 11 June 2023 and replace the now expired Marine Safety Regulations (2012).
The changes to the regulations cover a wide range of areas, including boat safety equipment, vessel registration, licensing and education, vessel operations, and more. The Marine Safety Regulations 2023 can be found in full on the Victorian Legislation website: Marine Safety Regulations 2023.
ST-Vic require 28 business days (increased from the previous 10 business days) to respond to Notifications of Boating activity exemptions and exclusion zones and Notifications of Works. This extended window provides ST-Vic with more time to manage and review notifications and we strongly recommend you provide notifications for boating activity exemptions, exclusion zones and works at the earliest opportunity.
It should be noted that Parks Victoria cannot issue permits for any event in relation to waterways requiring exclusions or exemptions without approval from ST-Vic. Submitting your event application early will ensure there is adequate time for legislated reviews, notifications and publications of closures if required.
How do I apply for a Bays and Waterways event permit?
1. Complete the Bays and Waterways online permit application form.
2. Gather the supporting documents and attach to your application (details in the application form). If you are seeking exemptions to the State Waterway rules or specific Scheduled Waterway rules, exemptions or modifications to vessel safety equipment or exemptions or modifications to the Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic), Marine Safety Regulations 2023 (Vic) or regulations made under the Port Management Act 1995 (Vic) you will need to complete an Application for Boating Activity Exemptions and Exclusion Zone.
3. Submit your online application form.
Upon receipt of your event application, you will receive an email regarding your event and a reference number. Please use this reference number in any correspondence.
- Submitting an event application does not guarantee event approval.
- A permit does not provide exclusive access of any area within a waterway (unless an exclusion zone is granted through ST-Vic). Public access must not be restricted during your event or activity.
- If you are conducting a series of events at different waterways, you may need to complete a separate application form addressing safety issues for each individual waterway.
Fireworks on Parks Victoria's Estate
Fireworks will only be considered for events that are of local, state, national or international significance.
If fireworks are proposed for your event, please also provide:
- A detailed map of the fireworks fall-out zones;
- A copy of the WorkSafe approval;
- A copy of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) notification and approval;
- Notification of Intention to discharge fireworks;
- Job Safety Analysis;
- Copy of the Pyro Technician licences; and
- Certificate of Currency from the fireworks provider.
Extreme weather clause
In the event of extreme weather conditions, a planned event may be cancelled by Parks Victoria in the interest of public safety.
Important Bays and Waterways information for event organisers
As a part of your event or commercial activity, you may need to apply for:
- Boating Activity Exemption (BAE)
This can exempt the event organiser from rules and regulations relevant to the waterway where they plan to hold their activity.
- Exclusion Zone
This allows the event organiser to have exclusive use of an area of a waterway.
As a designated Waterway Manager Parks Victoria are responsible for applying to the Safety Director of Maritime Safety Victoria (ST-Vic) on the applicant’s behalf for a BAE and/or an Exclusion Zone within areas managed by Parks Victoria.
If you would like to request a BAE or an Exclusion Zone as a part of your permit, please be aware it is the applicant’s responsibility to understand the applicable regulations for the waterway you plan to operate on before you submit your application to Parks Victoria.
If you would like assistance in understanding the rules and regulations that apply to a particular waterway and how they might apply to your activity, please contact Safe Transport Victoria.
Event, filming and photography FAQs
Check our frequently asked questions for answers about event, filming and photography on Parks Victoria's estate.
Permit fees can vary depending on the complexity of the event and whether ranger supervision is required.
Parks Victoria Sustainable Events Guide
RPA / Drone usage
If you would like to use a RPA / drone as part of your event, you will be required to provide more information and documents. Visit the RPA and Drones Filming and Photography Permit application guidelines page for more information.
- Safe Transport Victoria (to be referred to for all on water events)
- Guide to Vessel Operating and Zoning Rules (VOZR) for Victorian Waterways
- Maritime Safety Victoria’s Fact Sheet: Boating activity exemptions and exclusion zones
- Boating Zone Review
- Recreational Boating Guide - Yarra and Maribyrnong River
- Yarra River, Maribyrnong River and Victoria Harbour Event Guidelines
- Commercial Operators Flag System
- National Water Sports Centre Event Guidelines
- National Water Sports Centre Safe Boating fact file
- National Water Sports Centre Usage Timetable
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org