There are a number of public boat ramps around Melbourne and the wider area of Victoria. These are located on the bays and inlets as well as freshwater lakes and rivers.
In 2019 the Victorian government moved to remove all fees from public boat ramps and associated vehicle and trailer parking.
In addition, funding is planned to be set aside for the redevelopment of public boat ramps where required as well as a commitment to allocate more funding for ongoing maintenance.
Boat Ramps Melbourne & Victoria FAQ
As of October 2019, public boat ramps are free to use. Some private boat ramps may charge a fee at their discretion.
Note that associated public parking for vehicles with boat trailers is also free.
Vehicles using the parking without a trailer may be subject to parking fines as the areas are designated for boat trailer usage.
Boat “ramp etiquette” is anything that makes it easier for all persons launching boats. It ensures quicker launches and retrieves through consideration and use of some very simple rules.
Do all pre-launch preparation in the parking area, not on the boat ramp. This includes placing bung into position. Folding up rigging such as biminis. Loading equipment such as fishing gear, bait, coolers, safety equipment into the boat.
Removing any straps, ropes, ratchet tie-downs etc in the parking area. But – keeping winch and safety chain attached so the boat cannot fall off the trailer.
Ensuring any dock lines (ropes for securing boat) are easy to access and use immediately – and are secured to the boat.
Practicing backing of the trailer – before turning up at boat ramp.
Being helpful to newbies. Any fool can laugh at another’s inexperience. But a true Aussie boaty or fisho will lend a hand.
Moving boat to mooring area after removal of the trailer as quickly as possible.
Drive the car and empty trailer off the ramp area and into the parking area as soon as possible.
Retrieval is the reverse of launching.
Be aware that boats coming into the ramp take precedence over boats launching from the ramp.
Be aware of children when backing. While they should be their parents’ responsibility the fact is their safety becomes yours – and children are unpredictable.
Keep tow vehicle speed down. Backing down fast proves only one thing – you’re reckless, but not necessarily bright.
Try and keep the tow vehicles back wheels out of the water. Getting stuck on the ramp is not fun.
When backing please remove children, dogs and other passengers out of the tow vehicle. Cars do end up in the water. When they do they tend to go under fast. Getting passengers out of the car quickly becomes life-threatening.
Victoria’s bays and ocean nearly all face into the Southern Ocean. The weather conditions can and do change quite suddenly. You can read our Safe Boating Guide for Victorian Waters for details on boat size and wave heights.
For this reason, it’s essential you not only check the weather and coastal weather conditions in advance, but you also need to check them while you’re out on the water.
Port Phillip and Western Port Bays are prone to sudden and extreme changes, too. This is due to the weather influences mentioned above and to their relative shallowness. While Western Port does offer some protection from conditions in locations behind French Island care needs to still be taken.
Port Phillip Bay, on the other hand, can be more extreme at times. It’s considered to be the largest inland sea in the southern hemisphere. It is shallow and wide. This results in extreme wave heights, often beyond those forecasted.