Anyone who has sailed or dived the southern end of Port Phillip Bay will understand the dangers of navigating The Rip. Port Phillip Bay covers an area of 1930km2, yet its entrance to Bass Strait is a narrow 2kms. An enormous volume of water passes back and forth through this tiny entrance. Commercial shipping requires the assistance of skilled pilots and passage through this waterway in any craft is complex and not for the foolhardy. The Rip is aptly named.
To provide guidance through The Rip there are three lighthouses. One at Point Lonsdale on the outer edge and two at Queenscliff known as the Black (High Lighthouse) and the White (Low) lighthouse. Black lighthouse? Yes, as one can pick up the different lights at night by their particular light patterns, during the day the sailor is guided by the colour and positions of the lighthouses.