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Where's the Best Boating in Melbourne?

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published September 27th 2017
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Boating fun with the family (by pxhere / Public Domain)


Melbourne's coastal waters, marine parks and rivers are delightful places to escape the city and go boating in a powerboat, yacht, kayak or chartered vessel on sunny days.

Boating anglers are also blessed with the best fishing spots to bag a batch of bream, lobster or salmon for a barbecue lunch, beating the crowds of fishers stuck on dry land.

In Melbourne, these are 10 of the best places to go boating.


Stony Point Boat Ramp
In Western Point Bay and overlooking French Island National Park, you can sail north to circle French Island or south past the HMAS Cerberus Naval Base to drift toward Phillip Island.

If you've got your sea legs, surge into Bass Strait, passing the penguins at Nobbies Centre.


Altona Pier
Since 1888, boats have sailed from this heritage listed pier, fishing for snapper and leatherjacket. Dive in beside the beach for bodyboarding and surfing.

To the southwest, a dedicated waterski lane will satisfy your need for speed as colourful kitesurfers guide you to the pier on the corner of Esplanade and Pier Streets.


Gem Pier
Stretching 150 metres into the bay, make time to explore the one of our most historic ships, the WWII corvette, HMAS Castlemaine, now a museum.

Named after a 19th century paddlesteamer, the pier, home to a fleet of seaplanes, was recently rebuilt for the next generation of coast watchers. Gem Pier is one of Melbourne's busiest, ensuring you'll be among friends as you sail past the lively attractions in Williamstown.

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Aye Aye Captain (by Hillebrand Steve, USFWS / Public Domain)


Dromana Pier
Stock up on supplies at the IGA in Dromana before sailing from the pier, either in your own pleasure craft or a 1/2 cabin cruiser hired from the local boat shop.


Frankston Pier
On the northern tip of the Mornington Peninsular, the pier, open to anglers since the 1880s, is now joined by a yacht club.

Frankston, site of On the Beach, the 1959 film starring Gregory Peck, is a popular place for art and festival lovers, with the Waterfront Festival in January celebrating our love of ocean with a variety of watersports.


Mordialloc Pier
Beside Peter Scullin Reserve and tucked at the end of Beach Rd, the pier is sheltered by the mouth of Mordialloc Creek, giving anglers their fill of snapper, bream, trevally and squid.


Portsea Pier
Dazzled by the glowing red of Weedy Sea Dragons, recreational boaters are spoilt for choice at Portsea, to snorkel with marine life or scuba dive beside rusting shipwrecks.

Access the water from Point Nepean Rd or charter a boat to brave The Rip, the treacherous triangle to the north west, fed by rapid tidal flows from the Bass Strait.

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Melbourne boating in style (by Alex Proimos / BY 2.0)


Sandringham Jetty
Serviced by the Sandringham Yacht Club, over 350 majestic vessels are berthed at the marina, a popular spot for fishing competitions.

For special occasions, book a day on the water, hosting a party with family and friends to watch the city's fireworks displays.


Sorrento Pier
During summer and autumn, ferries bring flocks of fishers from Queenscliff to this 1870s pier. While they catch whiting and indulge in the attractions of Sorrento, you can sail into Port Phillip Bay, dropping anchor to swim with dolphins and seals.


Rosebud Pier
Although this Rosebud's construction predates Orson Welles' classic film, this pier is still a handy spot to access the water in the Mornington, for swimming beside the long beaches or snorkelling through a specially plotted underwater trail.


For a safe, fun day on the water, follow these suggestions:
as master and commander of your recreational powerboat, you'll need a marine licence, obtained Maritime Safety Victoria.
ensure everyone onboard is wearing a lifejacket.
read Maritime Safety Victoria's Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook, especially the waterway rules, before casting off.
prepare for a safe trip by checking the boat, including engine, electrical systems, lights and ropes.
check your safety gear, including lifejackets, first aid kit, torches, radio and EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon).
meteorologists are heckled as much as AFL umpires, but it's worth checking their forecasts for weather, tides and wind conditions. Australia's official forecaster, the Bureau of Meteorology, has a dedicated page for mariners.
safety-conscious hikers heading out of suburbia will let a friend know where they're going and when they'll be home. Safety-conscious seafarers should always do the same.
fees may be payable to access boat ramps. Check with the local council operator for casual and annual season ticket prices.


For more ideas, visit Parks Victoria's suggestions for boating in Port Phillip Bay.


Where's your top spot to sail the high seas? We'd love to learn about your favourite boating tales in Melbourne. Please leave a comment below.

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