The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) encourages Marine Park vessel operators to use moorings wherever possible, as they are an important step in minimising anchor damage and providing for ecologically sustainable use.
There are two types of moorings in the Marine Park:
- Public moorings
- Privately owned moorings
Public moorings are available to all vessel operators and have been installed by the managing agencies at popular locations. Buoys attached to the moorings are blue in colour with a Marine Parks label explaining the class (vessel length), time limits and maximum wind strength limits that apply to the mooring.
The following public mooring and anchoring brochures contain information about moorings in the Marine Park, including their locations and conditions of use:
- Protecting coral in the northern Great Barrier Reef [PDF 910KB]
- Protecting coral in the Townsville-Hinchinbrook Area [PDF 950KB ]
- Protecting coral in the Whitsundays [PDF 1.12MB]
Legal requirements for the use of public moorings
- You must not remove, misuse or damage a public mooring
- Time limits apply to the use of public moorings so check the information on the mooring tag.
Privately owned moorings have been installed by regular users of an area, including commercial tourism operators and local residents.
Many mooring owners would rather you pick up a mooring than anchor on coral. Please remember that the moorings are private property and you must have the owners formal permission to use them. In particular, you need to check with the owner to make sure that the mooring is capable of holding your vessel and that your vessel will not move the mooring – potentially causing significant environmental damage as well as damage to the mooring itself.
If you wish to install a mooring of your own, please contact the GBRMPA or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain the necessary permission.
Legal requirements for the use of private moorings
- A permit is required to install a private mooring in the Marine Park
- Mooring reference numbers must be displayed on private permitted moorings
- Private moorings must be maintained annually and a compliance certificate obtained by an appropriately qualified person. For further information on an appropriately qualified person, please refer to the Permits Information Sheet on moorings.
- In general, you must not anchor within 50 metres of moorings or 200 metres of pontoons in the Cairns Planning Area.
Following on from an incident report received from the tourism industry, four unpermitted moorings will soon be removed from Opal Reef, offshore from Port Douglas. These moorings have had a tag attached to them requesting the owner to make contact with the GBRMPA. No one has yet come forward to claim ownership of the moorings.
In accordance with legislation, an Order to Remove has been published in local papers and on the GBRMPA website to formally request the owners to remove the moorings. If no one responds within 28 days these moorings will then be detackled.
I think I’ve found an illegal mooring – who should I tell?
Most structures in the Marine Park, including moorings, require the permission of the GBRMPA and QPWS to be installed and operated. If you suspect a mooring is not legally permitted (for example, if no mooring reference number is displayed on a private mooring), you can use the Incident Report form to inform the GBRMPA or local Marine Parks office of the details of the structure.
Alternatively, please contact any of the offices listed at the bottom of the form.
I’ve found a damaged mooring or loose buoy – who should I tell?
If you have found a damaged mooring, please make a note of any markings and it’s GPS position so it can be reported. If you have found a buoy that has come adrift, please report it as below:
Who to contact?
- If it’s a blue public mooring, please advise your local Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Office
- If it’s any other colour, it’s likely to be a private mooring. Private moorings should have a number either moulded or engraved into them, for example GM0123. Please contact the GBRMPA on (07) 4750 0857.
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