Marine mammals are given special protection under law in the protected areas of the Logan's Beach exclusion zone, the Ticonderoga Bay sanctuary zone, in seal breeding colonies and in marine national parks and marine sanctuaries.
No boating activity is allowed at Logan's Beach between 1 June and 31 October each year.
| Ticonderoga Bay sanctuary zone|
(Port Phillip Bay)
No boats are allowed within 200 metres of dolphins in Ticonderoga Bay sanctuary zone (Port Phillip Bay). Dolphin swim tours are not permitted in Ticonderoga Bay sanctuary zone.
|Seal breeding colonies|
Boats must not approach within 60 metres of the low water mark at Seal Rocks, Phillip Island.
During the seal breeding season (1 November to 28 February), boats must not approach within 100 metres of the low water mark at the Cape Bridgewater, Rag Island and the Skerries seal breeding colonies, and 200 metres of the low water mark at Lady Julia Percy Island and Kanowna Island* seal breeding colonies.
Outside the seal breeding season (1 March – 31 October), boats must not approach within 50 metres of the low water mark at Cape Bridgewater, Rag Island the Skerries and Kanowna Island* seal breeding colonies, and 75 metres of a seal at Lady Julia Percy Island seal breeding colony. (*Breeding season at Kanowna Island runs from 1 November to 31 January)
Jet skis must not approach within 200 metres of any seal breeding colony.
Southern right whales give birth to young in sheltered bays along the south-west coast of Victoria each year, with Logan's Beach at Warrnambool being a favoured area for many years.
Several female whales make an annual trip to the site to nurse and prepare their young for the long journey back to Southern Antarctic waters.
To prevent disturbing mothers and their calves, boating activity is not permitted within the Logan's Beach boating exclusion zone from 1 June to 31 October each year.
You can still surf and swim in the area as long as you don't get within 50 metres of a whale. Land-based fishing is also allowed.
Port Phillip Bay is home to a population of around 80 bottlenose dolphins. These mammals rely almost entirely on the bay for all their daily needs. They rarely, if ever, venture outside its waters. The small population size makes these dolphins vulnerable to extinction.
Ticonderoga Bay sanctuary zone, located north-west of Portsea near Point Nepean, is a refuge for the dolphins and is a significant component of the dolphins' habitat. Dolphins often feed, rest and socialise in this area due to the availability of food and its protected nature.
Boats are not allowed within 200 metres of a dolphin in this zone.
Boats can still travel through and stop in the area providing they keep away from dolphins. Holders of a dolphin swim tour permit must not conduct a dolphin swim within the zone.
There are six important seal breeding locations in Victoria.
Boats cannot approach within certain distances of these sites as seals are easily alarmed by boats and can hurt themselves attempting to flee.
Seal pups are particularly vulnerable and can be trampled by adult animals trying to escape.
Approach distances to these important sites are clearly set out below:
Seal Rocks, Phillip Island is one of Australia's largest fur seal colonies, supporting about a quarter of all Victorian seals. The site is unique in that seals are accustomed to humans and can be approached reasonably closely by boats. Boats are not permitted to approach closer than 60 metres from the low water mark at the Seal Rocks seal breeding colony.
Cape Bridgewater, Rag Island and The Skerries are home to breeding colonies that are less accustomed to boats. Recreational boats are not permitted to approach closer than 100 metres to the low water mark at any of these seal breeding colonies during the breeding season (1 November to end of February). Outside this period, boats are not permitted to approach any closer than 50 metres.
Kanowna Island and Lady Julia Percy Island are home to naïve breeding colonies where pups are at particular risk. Recreational boats are not permitted to approach closer than 200 metres to the low water mark at the Lady Julia Percy Island and Kanowna Island seal breeding colonies during the breeding season (1 November to the end of February and 1 December to the end of January, respectively). Outside this period, boats are not permitted to approach any closer than 75 metres at Lady Julia Percy Island and 50 metres at Kanowna Island.
Jet skis are not permitted within 200 metres of a seal breeding colony, and aircraft are not permitted to fly below 300 metres, within a 300 metre radius, of a seal breeding colony.
Victoria has a system of 13 marine national parks, 11 marine sanctuaries, a number of marine reserves, and marine and coastal parks.
These parks and reserves provide further protection for marine mammals. There are some restrictions on boating and other recreational activities in these areas.See Parks Victoria for further information.
Page last updated: 23/12/19