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The Melbourne region, including Port Phillip and Western Port Bays, have a number of “drive yourself” boat hire options.
Some of these companies offer boat hire that requires no boat license, often with some restrictions. You should check with them before hiring, to make sure.
Browse selected boating hire companies below – and check out our Boat Hire FAQ for tips on what to look for.
Make sure the company you are hiring from has insurance and meets the necessary statutory requirements.
This varies from state to state.
Most operators are above board and take their business seriously. But, like most businesses, there are cowboys out there.
Hire boats are subject to local laws and regulations. Many hire options permit hire without a license. This is perfectly legal providing they – and you – meet those regulations.
Some hire companies may require you to have a boat license. Others require no license providing you operate the vessel according to their restrictions and requirements.
This may mean operating only in a certain area. For example, not beyond a specific marker buoy or geographic co-ordinates.
In most states, including Victoria, life jackets are required by law. There are variations on this law according to the type of vessel, the length and where you are operating it.
Most boat-related deaths have been linked to a failure to wear life jackets.
The fact that you are a competent swimmer does not mean you do not need to be wearing a life jacket.
Hypothermia kills. When hypothermia sets in your ability to swim will become diminished or even prevented. Depending on the degree of hypothermia your limbs may stop working properly.
This is an issue anywhere in Australia. But it’s a huge issue in the Southern states where water temperatures drop below 16c – 17c degrees often as low as 10c or 11c degrees.
Some boat hire companies supply fishing tackle with the boat. Most require you to either bring your own bait or lures. Or buy bait from them.
Make sure you know what is supplied before booking and heading out to avoid disappointment.
One benefit from buying from them may be that they are in a position to know what baits are working locally – and even provide you with some useful fishing tips to get the most out of your boat hire.
Unless there is a ladder of some kind re-entering a boat can be surprisingly difficult.
If you’ve never tried re-entering a boat from the water, without a ladder, it’s recommended you don’t find out the hard way.
Some boats will have some kind of aluminium or stainless steel ladder to assist re-entry. While other boats are to small to make this practicable.
If in doubt – stay in the boat.
Safety equipment must, at a minimum meet the state requirements.
That means correct lifejackets for each person. Fire extinguisher for powerboats (petrol, diesel etc), a bucket with a lanyard for fire fighting – and bailing. A bailer – or bilge pump. Flares, a communication device (radio, phone or satellite.)
Boat navigation lights if travelling before dawn or after dusk and if a fog is likely.
Check local laws for additional requirements as they vary markedly from state to state.