Moorings have been installed throughout the Marine Park to both help take the pressure off coral reefs and as a useful aide to the boating community.

You’re encouraged to use a mooring, where available, in preference to dropping an anchor. Moorings are a more environmentally sustainable alternative to anchoring through helping to avoid damage to the coral and disturbance to marine habitats. What’s more, with a mooring you can have safe access to some of the busiest and most attractive parts of the Marine Park.

At times, public moorings can be in big demand so it’s important that you observe their conditions of use and share this handy resource in a responsible manner.

Responsible Reef Practices

In general

  • Use moorings instead of anchors, wherever possible.
  • When using a public mooring, read and follow the advice given on the information disc attached to the mooring pick-up line.
  • Vacate a public mooring as soon as you can to allow access for other users, never stay longer than the time limit.

When picking up moorings

  • Make sure you have the owner’s permission if you’re picking up a mooring that is not a public mooring or your own.
  • Before picking up a mooring, make sure it is appropriate for your vessel and the conditions.
  • Motor into the wind towards the buoy.
  • Avoid running over the pick-up line.
  • Use boat hooks to retrieve the pick-up line.
  • Attach the mooring line to a strong point or bollard on your vessel: if the mooring line is too large, use a short slip line to attach it to the vessel.
  • Try to minimise windage by setting up an appropriate mooring system.
  • Do not use a spring line, it may put undue weight on the mooring.
  • Ensure that your vessel is properly secured to the mooring before turning off the motor.
  • Do not 'lift' the mooring to reduce the noise of it knocking your vessel during the night.
  • Do not attach your vessel to a damaged mooring.

When leaving a mooring

  • Make sure ropes are clear of the propeller before departing, and that the lines are clear for next the user.
  • Make sure you engage your engine, or hoist your sail, before dropping the mooring rope.

When operating your own mooring

  • Inspect and maintain your mooring equipment and keep a copy of your mooring maintenance certificate handy.
  • Adhere to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority standard mooring buoy parameters.
  • Consider sharing your mooring with other users to help reduce anchoring in the area.


Marine Parks Legal Requirements

  • You must have a Marine Parks permit to install a mooring.
  • You must display your GBRMPA mooring reference number on your mooring buoy in a permanent manner so that it is legible at all times. A Maritime Safety Queensland buoy mooring authority number will be accepted.
  • You must not remove, misuse or damage public moorings.
  • You must comply with the time limit specified on each public mooring buoy.
  • You generally must not anchor within 50 metres of moorings in the Cairns Planning Area.
  • You must not anchor within 200 metres of pontoons in the Cairns Planning Area.
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