Vessel sewage regulations

Vessel-based sewage discharge, an identified risk to the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem in the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2009, is increasing. This is of concern due to increased nutrients and pathogens in the water column. Compounded with other impacts, it can adversely affect corals, fish, seagrasses and other flora and fauna of the Great Barrier Reef - particularly in poor tidal areas such as bays and lagoons. Localised effects on a coral reef can include reduced species diversity, lower coral cover and suppressed coral recruitment.

All vessel owners and operators must ensure vessel sewage is managed appropriately. Sewage discharges must comply with regulations administered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and Queensland coastal waters requirements. These regulations are different, and to assist with complying you need to consider:
  • The type of waterway in which the vessel activities will take place
  • The number of people that intend to be onboard the vessel
  • The amount of time to be spent in the different waterways
  • The discharge requirements of those waterways
For requirements related to your vessel type:

Related information: