Houseboats at Lake Eildon
Lake Eildon is the only inland waterway in Victoria where houseboats are permitted to operate.
It is Goulburn-Murray Water's (GMW) role to control and manage houseboat operations, including water quality and other issues associated with over 700 houseboats. GMW must also ensure that allocated water is available for irrigators and other downstream users.
The GMW By-law No. 1-2013 – Recreational Areas , opens in a new window governs GMW’s development and management of public access and recreational use of its managed land and waterways.
The Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 (the Regulations) came into effect in June 2013.
Why have houseboat regulations?
To ensure the long term sustainability of houseboat operations on Lake Eildon it is essential to have regulations which control and manage houseboat operations in the Lake Eildon Recreational Area.
Who is affected by the regulations?
- All licenced houseboats;
- All new houseboats; and
- Existing houseboats that require a transfer of licence.
Lake Eildon houseboats regulations update
The current regulations that set out how houseboats on Lake Eildon must be managed – the Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013 – are scheduled to be renewed by 1 July 2023.
This renewal provides an opportunity to review and update the regulations and to provide clarity and certainty about how greywater is managed, as well other aspects of the regulations, such as blackwater systems, licencing and inspections.
As part of this work, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is holding initial conversations with members of the houseboating community, including builders, marina operators, commercial operators and the Lake Eildon Houseboats Association, as well as Goulburn-Murray Water (GMW). These conversations are about understanding the concerns of the community and discussing opportunities to do things better.
DELWP is working closely with GMW and water quality experts to build a solid base of evidence to understand the water quality in the lake and inform future management actions and regulations. This work is part of our commitment to ensuring that Lake Eildon is managed well, to look after the lake for houseboating and other recreational users, for town and agricultural water supply, for the fish and wildlife, and for future generations.
DELWP will continue to work with the community to explore your concerns and investigate opportunities and keep you informed, including forming a houseboats working group to represent the community.
For further information, talk to your marina team, to GMW, or contact DELWP by email to email@example.com.
DELWP has brought Monash University on board to do research to better understand how houseboats are used, and what steps houseboaters are already taking to manage their wastewater. Monash Uni has released a short snapshot
on the outcomes of the research.
Water (Lake Eildon Recreational Area) (Houseboats) Regulations 2013
Lake Eildon Houseboat Information Booklet , opens in a new window
Application to Licence, Operate or Leave a Houseboat within the Lake Eildon Recreational Area
Houseboat Licence Terms and Conditions , opens in a new window
Application for Transfer of Houseboat Licence
Compulsory Houseboat Inspection Report , opens in a new window
Restricted Term Licence for Lake Eildon
Application to upgrade or alter existing houseboat , opens in a new window
Credit Card Payment form (Under My Bills and Details Menu)
Change of Address form (Under My Bills and Details Menu)
Houseboat Licence Fees
Annual Licence Fees 2022/23
||A trailable boat able to be transported without the need for a Vic Roads permit (upgradeable) - Maximum size 10m x 3.5m
||One enclosed level, non trailable (not upgradeable) - Maximum size 10.6m x 4.5m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 10.6m x 4.5m
Houseboat with one enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 13.7m x 5.5m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 13.7m x 5.5m
One enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 15.2m x 6.25m
Two or more enclosed levels (upgradeable) - Maximum size 15.2m x 6.25m
One enclosed level (upgradeable) - Maximum size 18.3m x 7.25m
||Two enclosed levels (not upgradeable) - Maximum size 18.3m x 7.25m
| Category 7
||Special - commercial vessel - Maximum size 20m x 8m
Houseboat dimensions are inclusive of all structural components which includes walkways, duckboards, ski platforms, handrails, bumpers/buffers, eaves & motors. Any part of the vessel that protrudes outside of the maximum allowable category dimension must fold or retract within the allowable category dimensions.
Note: The Corporation currently defines categories by the houseboat dimensions and the number of enclosed levels. An area is considered an enclosed level when three or four sides are constructed of a solid material, i.e. aluminium, glass, perspex, or any other cladding or material.
Application, Inspection and Transfer Fees in Respect of Houseboats
||Application fee for initial houseboat licence
||Inspection fee for both single and multi-deck houseboats at Eildon
Inspection fee for both single and multi-deck houseboats at other locations
||Fee for transfer of houseboat licence to another person under regulation 12
Application fee for restricted term licence
General houseboat information
New Houseboat Licence Labels
Recent changes to the houseboat regulations have repealed the requirement for GMW to issue houseboat licence labels. Please be advised that you will no longer receive a label upon receipt of payment for your annual houseboat licence.
Houseboat Compulsory Inspection Program
GMW's houseboat inspection program was introduced to ensure compliance with the Regulations and to ensure that over a period of time, effluent issues that have the potential to threaten water quality and human health are minimised or removed. The program has now been in operation for ten years and has seen the majority of boats on Lake Eildon inspected. The outcomes of the inspections have ranged from some boats getting the ‘all clear' to others being removed and replaced by a new vessel.
GMW is reviewing the management of waste services across all its 16 water storages. There have been some concerns with the management of the bulk rubbish associated with houseboats at Eildon. The service provided by GMW is for the removal of domestic household, or in this case, domestic houseboat rubbish. It is clearly evident that bins are being used to dispose of "hard" rubbish in the form of renovation materials, carpets, television sets, lounge suites, mattresses etc.
The cost for the service and the number of bin clearances have increased dramatically over the last 2 to 3 years and the problem has evolved without an increase in the number of houseboats on the lake.
GMW asks that operators and owners take responsibility for their waste and ensure that only domestic rubbish is placed in the bins provided. Please ensure that cardboard boxes are crushed to ensure maximum space for rubbish within the bins.
Houseboat owners should consult with their club or marina operator for all hard rubbish removal and containment requirements. GMW will monitor the bins over the current boating season and will make recommendation on changes to the present process should current practices continue.
Camping and Fires
Fires and camping are not permitted in any area around Lake Eildon, except in the designated camping areas. Unregulated campfires are not only a potential hazard for bushfires, but also pose a risk to water quality along with discarded rubbish from camping activities. To minimize these impacts, Parks Victoria provides defined areas where camping and fires are permitted. Visit Parks Victoria , opens in a new window or phone 131 963 for further information
On days of declared Total Fire Ban, please refer to the CFA's Can I or Can't I? brochure , opens in a new window .
Motorbikes and Off Road Driving
Off Road driving and trail bike riding is only permitted on formed roadways that are above the lake full supply level and open to the public. All vehicles must be roadworthy, registered and you must be fully licensed. Off road driving and trail bike riding is not permitted on the exposed areas of the shores or the lake bed or in the National Park.
Protection of Foreshore Vegetation
With lake levels now returning to areas where considerable natural vegetation re-growth has occurred, houseboat operators may experience some difficulty in accessing popular mooring areas around the lake. Boat owners are reminded that native vegetation is protected and must not be removed.
Boating and Events on Lake Eildon
GMW works with Transport Safety and the Victorian Water Police to ensure that boaters on all storages enjoy safe boating. Please ensure that you refer to boating information signage at boat ramps before entering the waterway.
There has been a significant rise in applications for events across the storages as our water level rise to full or near full. GMW the Victorian Water Police and Transport Safety are designing a process to stream line and ensure maximum safety measures are in place for all approved events.
It is a requirement that application and approval process must be managed by GMW prior to any organised event taking place.
GMW wishes to remind owners of their responsibilities when bringing dogs onto GMW recreational areas. There has been past reports of dogs attacking wildlife and also being a nuisance to other boat owners. When a dog is within a GMW recreational area they must be:
- Under proper control on a leash; and
- Effectively restrained from causing injury or annoyance to people, damage or interference to property and disturbance or injury to wildlife.
Parks Victoria have also asked us to remind all visitors that dogs are prohibited within all of Lake Eildon National Park with the exception of the Parks Victoria camping area at Jerusalem Creek.