Barwon Coast is appointed through the Department of Transport under the ‘Port Management Act 1995’ as the Port Manager for the Local Port of Barwon Heads. As Port Manager, we oversee port operations, particularly in regard to boating activities and maintenance of the navigable channel and navigational aids. We also provide and maintain port facilities, including wharves, jetties and moorings. We undertake regular hydrographic surveys of the navigable channel to monitor water depth and allocate and manage moorings in the port.

Navigating the Barwon River Bar – Warning

Attention all vessel operators, please be reminded that navigating and crossing the Barwon River Bar is a high risk activity, potentially leading to severe personal injury or even loss of life. Please check weather, wind, swell and tide conditions in the days leading up to your trip and before you leave home.

  • Make sure you understand navigational beacons, buoys, sector lights and leads before you even attempt the Barwon River Bar crossing.
  • Strong winds can cause challenging conditions and distinguishing the river bar entrance can become very difficult.
  • Large and even medium size swells can close off the river bar entrance with breaking surf.
  • The run of the ebb tide lifts and shortens sea conditions on the river bar increasing the risk of swamping or capsize.
  • Poor visibility in low light, fog and the position of the sun relative to the vessels position when attempting to cross the river bar must also be considered before and during river bar crossings.
  • Make sure you understanding navigational beacons, buoys, sector lights and leads before you even attempt the Barwon River Bar crossing.
  • Lifejackets are compulsory for all river bar crossings in Victoria.

Check the weather before you leave home, don’t go out if the weather is unsuitable.

Visit to get information on tides, swell, wind, coastal weather and warnings.

A marine safety camera provides images of the Barwon Heads Main Jetty and Barwon River Bar entrance Beacon and updates every 10 minutes and can be checked on the Boating Victoria website.

Near real-time Barwon River tide conditions can be checked on the Barwon Coast website. This tide gauge is located on the Main Jetty in Barwon Heads and updates every 5 minutes.

  • Take necessary precautions and exercise extreme caution when navigating the Barwon River Bar.
  • Don’t head out regardless of the conditions just because you have planned the day in advance.
  • Be flexible and change your plans if need be. The waters north of the Barwon Heads vehicle bridge provide safer waters as do the waters of Corio Bay and Port Phillip Bay.

“If in doubt, don’t go out’.

Safety and Environment Management Plan (SEMP)

Local Port of Barwon Heads Safety and Environment Management Plan (SEMP) is a management tool to systematically examine the full scope of activities in the local port and to ensure that all significant safety and environment risks are identified and controlled. 

Key activities addressed in the SEMP include those under the direct control of the Local Port of Barwon Heads direct control and those on which it has influence only.

Further information:

Boat Ramps and Jetties

The Port of Barwon Heads contains three boat ramps and two jetties, Ozone Jetty and Main Jetty both located in Barwon Heads.  Barwon Coast works closely with the City of Greater Geelong and Parks Victoria to ensure boat ramps within port waters are safe and operational. Boat ramps are located at the following locations:

Ocean Grove Boat Ramp
Guthridge St, Ocean Grove

Facilities include 100 car spaces, 20 boat trailer spaces and a fish cleaning table.

Pelican Court Boat Ramp
Barwon Heads

Facilities include 15 car spaces and 5 boat trailer spaces.

Minah Court Boat Ramp
Barwon Heads

Facilities include 5 car space and 5 boat trailer spaces. This ramp is only suitable for small tinnies, kayaks & canoes.

Navigational Aids

Navigation aids are a fixed or floating structure used to assist vessel operators in safe navigation of port waters. Common types of navigational aids indicate navigable channels, safe water and dangers.

Barwon Coast owns and maintains approximately 25 lit navigational aids within its area of jurisdiction.

Please report any safety issues to Barwon Coast.