Anchoring and Mooring in the Whitsunday Planning Area

Please note: The Whitsundays Plan of Management has been amended. Some of the information below may have changed. Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management for further information.

The Whitsunday reefs are outstanding for their coral cover and diversity. High visitation to these fringing reefs makes them vulnerable to damage by careless anchoring and vessel groundings.

Using a mooring

Tying up to a mooring, instead of anchoring, means that you are helping to protect the coral reefs of the Marine Park. Please use a mooring whenever you can and follow the responsible reef practices for moorings.

There are blue public moorings available for use throughout the Whitsundays Planning Area. You must use them according to the requirements marked on the colour-coded band and mooring tag.

What about anchoring?

As a general rule, you must not damage coral. Make sure that you are causing the least damage possible by anchoring well away from coral whenever possible and following the responsible reef practices for anchoring.

However, there may be times when damage is unavoidable. When you are anchoring, the general requirement not to damage coral does not apply if you:

  • take reasonable care to avoid damaging coral, and
  • use a reef pick to anchor.

You must not anchor in the No Anchoring Areas throughout the Whitsundays.

Where are the No Anchoring Areas?

Some reef areas that are particularly vulnerable to visitation have been designated No Anchoring Areas. These areas are marked by Reef Protection Markers (pyramid-shaped buoys with blue Marine Park labels). There are no Reef Protection Markers installed at Manta Ray Bay and Bait Reef. You can locate the No Anchoring Area for Manta Ray Bay on the map (see Download Maps) and the coordinates and landmarks for both areas are described in Schedule 5 of the Whitsunday Plan of Management (see Related Links).

No Anchoring AreasReef Protection Markers

Hook Island

East and West Butterfly Bay
Maureen's Cove
Luncheon Bay
Pinnacle Bay
North and South Stonehaven Bay
False Nara Inlet
Manta Ray Bay

Hayman Island

Blue Pearl Bay
Border Island 
Cateran Bay
Daydream Island 
Sunlovers Bay
Langford Island ReefYES
Bait Reef (parts of)NO

What are the rules for No Anchoring Areas?

When you are visiting a reef or bay that has a No Anchoring Area, you can help protect the coral reefs of that area by following a few simple rules:

  • You cannot anchor inside a No Anchoring Area or inshore of the line of buoys.
  • You can enter 'No Anchoring Areas' when approaching or leaving moorings or beaches, if safe navigation allows.
  • You cannot attach your vessel or aircraft to a Reef Protection Marker.

Anchoring is not restricted for the safety of life or if a vessel is threatened.

Where can I anchor a large vessel?

If you have a large vessel (35 - 70 metres) you can anchor outside setting areas in the Whitsundays and in Setting 1. You may also anchor within another of the setting areas if:

Where can I anchor a cruise ship?

If you operate a cruise ship (more than 70 metres in length), specific areas have been identified as cruise ship anchorages in the Whitsundays. To ensure that the anchorage is available for your visit, you must make a booking before accessing these anchorages.

Download Maps

Manta Ray Bay No Anchoring Area map - 364.2 kb

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