The Water Police Squad is joining forces with some of Victoria Police’s key specialist units in a major effort to bolster safety over the Australia Day weekend.
The effort – also involving the Air Wing, Dog Squad and Public Order Response Team – will see police blitz the water and foreshore across Port Phillip Bay.
It will run over four days.
Passive alert detection dogs will be deployed to boat ramps across the weekend to sniff out vessel operators thinking of taking to the water impaired.
They’ll be supported by local police conducting preliminary breath tests and licence checks.
Inspections will also be carried out to make sure vessel operators are carrying the required safety equipment like lifejackets, torches and fire extinguishers.
Boat and jet ski rider behaviour will be a focus on the water.
The Water Police Squad will use police jet skis to support its rapid enforcement, with anyone caught travelling too close to swimmers, ignoring no boating zones or exceeding speed restrictions to face significant fines.
The Air Wing will have eyes from the sky while the Public Order Response Team will engage with beachgoers at popular spots across the bay to stop antisocial behaviour.
Victoria Police’s enforcement agency partners including Safer Transport Victoria, Parks Victoria and the Victorian Fisheries Authority are supporting the highly-visible operation.
The Water Police Squad has been out this summer staging proactive patrols across inland and coastal waterways.
It also has special strike teams at key locations targeting anti-social behaviour, water safety and boating offences.
Quotes attributable to Superintendent Wayne Newman, Specialist Response Division:
“We want everyone to enjoy Victoria’s beaches and waterways this weekend. But we want them to do it safely.
“That’s why we’ve teamed up with a number of specialist and local units to ensure our presence is highly visible.
“We’ll have zero tolerance for anyone who puts other water users at risk. So help us out and make smart decisions this weekend.”