Vessel sewage regulations
Vessel-based sewage discharge delivers increased nutrients and pathogens into 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 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:
- Recreational vessels with untreated sewage
- Recreational vessels with treated sewage
- Commercial vessels in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
- Cruise ships in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
- Ships on international voyage
If you're heading out on the water, download and use the free zoning app so you know where you can go and what you can do.
We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is under pressure. Many people, including Reef Guardians, are making a difference.
Become a marine scientist for a day Download our free app to share your sightings.
Published every five years, our Outlook Report provides an overview of Reef health and management.
Learn more about how the Australian and Queensland are managing the Reef through Reef 2050.