Mooring Based Operations

Tying up to a mooring is a great way to help protect marine environments that are susceptible to anchor damage. There are both public and permitted private moorings in the Marine Park.

What permits do I need?

If you wish to operate a tourism program that includes using your own moorings, you will need Marine Parks permits that allow both the tourism operation and the installation and conduct of any private moorings. Installation and operation of the moorings can be included in the same permit as your tourism operation or permitted separately. The choice is yours.

There may be additional State Government requirements for moorings in coastal waters, please check with Maritime Safety Queensland.

You need permission from the owner before you use a private mooring.

You do not need specific permission to use a public mooring. There is a limit on the amount of time you may tie up to a public mooring (usually two hours during the day). Operating to the time limit is particularly important as these moorings can be very popular. Vessel size limits also apply.

What particular requirements apply to moorings?

As well as any management arrangements for the area you visit, there are some specific requirements for installing and operating moorings:

  • The application process to install a mooring is the same as for a tourism permit. You will need to supply drawings of your proposed mooring approved by a marine engineer or naval architect and specify the proposed mooring location.
  • When you renew or transfer a mooring permit, you will be required to provide a copy of the approved drawing, latest mooring maintenance certificate, the exact mooring location and proof that the correct mooring reference number is legibly displayed on the mooring buoy (see Download Bulletin).
  • There is a cap on the number of permitted private moorings that can be installed in the Cairns, Hinchinbrook and Whitsunday planning areas, except setting 1 areas in the Whitsundays. Available capped moorings may be allocated by expression of interest in the future, including public advertisement.
  • Your mooring must be installed within six months of being granted your permit. Written requests for extensions will be considered.
  • A Marine Parks officer may supervise the installation of your mooring and record its exact location.
  • You will need to display a mooring reference number on each mooring in a permanent manner so that it is legible at all times. The GBRMPA issues a unique mooring reference number with your permit. Contact the GBRMPA if you cannot locate this number. A Maritime Safety Queensland buoy mooring authority number will also be accepted.
  • The location of your mooring will be recorded on a Moorings Register (see Related Links).

Please note that, if you operate to a mooring in the Cairns Planning Area, this will allow you to access the area everyday (except for most Sensitive Locations).

Is there a standard design?

There is no standard design for your mooring; either the way it is fixed to the seabed or the tackle you use. However, a marine engineer or naval architect must approve your design.

You are encouraged to adopt a standard look to your mooring buoy.

You should also contact Maritime Safety Queensland concerning any design requirements they may have.

Can others use my mooring?

The GBRMPA encourages the sharing of permitted private moorings so anchoring can be reduced as much as possible. You are responsible for your mooring and its use, and other users should contact you before using your mooring.

What if my site is damaged?

In the unfortunate event of a severe environmental incident at the site of your mooring, there are contingency arrangements in place to help you change your operation and temporarily relocate your mooring.

How can I help to protect the Reef?

Whenever you are using a mooring in the Marine Park, you can help by following the responsible reef practices for moorings.

Download Bulletin

Moorings Information Bulletin for renewal and transfer of a moorings permit - [PDF 74KB]
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