Super-yachts between 35-70 metres

Super-yachts between 35 to 70 metres and not being used commercially are able to access most of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Some areas that experience high use or have high conservation values have additional management provisions that apply to vessels 35 to 70 metres in length. These areas are:

  • Offshore Cairns and Port Douglas (covered by the Cairns Planning Area)
  • Hinchinbrook
  • The Whitsundays

Cairns Planning Area

The Cairns Planning Area extends from the Ribbon Reefs in the north to the Frankland Islands in the south.

It includes all islands and reefs offshore from Port Douglas and Cairns and covers about six per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The boundary of a ‘Location’ in this Area is generally 500 metres from the reef edge.

  • Generally, a super-yacht 35 to 70 metres in length must remain outside the Locations
  • You can enter the Locations to anchor at one of the 87 Reef Anchorages, provided your group size (including crew) is within the group size set for that Location:
  • Low-use Location - maximum 15 people
  • Moderate-use Location - maximum 60 people
  • Intensive-use Location - no limit
  • You are able to access cruise ship anchorages, please make a booking
  • You are able to anchor outside any Location and use your tender to access the Location, provided the group size in the tender is correct for that Location
  • Please check the management arrangements for Sensitive Locations in the Cairns Planning Area.

Please refer to the Cairns Area Plan of Management for more information.

Hinchinbrook Planning Area

The Hinchinbrook Planning Area extends from Dunk Island in the north to Halifax Bay in the south. This represents less than one per cent of the Marine Park.

The boundary of a 'Location' in this Area is generally 500 metres from the reef edge.

  • Generally, a super-yacht must remain outside the Locations
  • You are able to access cruise ship anchorages, please make a booking
  • You are able to anchor outside a Location and use your tender to access the Location
  • When using your vessel's tender please use the Hinchinbrook Planning Area voluntary transit lanes
  • When accessing this area with your tender, please travel at less than:
    • 25 knots within transit lanes
    • 10 knots (less than planing) outside the transit lanes over seagrass beds
    • 10 knots when travelling near a large sea animal (for example, a dugong, dolphin or marine turtle)
  • You must operate your tender at less than six knots within 100 metres of Mound (Portaboi) Island or 200 metres of any other significant bird site. The significant bird sites are mainly in the Brook Islands Group with some further south and one to the east of Hinchinbrook Island.

Please refer to the Hinchinbrook Plan of Management for more information.

Whitsunday Planning Area

The Whitsunday Planning Area covers waters and islands from Cape Gloucester in the north to Repulse and Thomas Islands in the south (see map). This Area represents about one per cent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The boundary of a setting in this Area is generally 1500 metres from the reef edge.

  • You are able to access a Setting 1 area
  • Generally, a super-yacht must remain outside all other Setting areas
  • You are able to anchor outside a Setting area and use your tender to access the area, provided the group size in the tender is correct for that area
  • You are able to access cruise ship anchorages in the Setting areas, please make a booking
  • You must operate your tender at less than six knots within 200 metres of a significant bird site
  • You must observe the seasonal and year round closures of significant bird sites.

Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management for more information.

Other special management areas

You may not access the following Restricted Access Special Management Areas:

  • Raine Island (see zoning map MPZ2)
  • Moulter Cay (see zoning map MPZ1)
  • MacLennan Cay (see zoning map MPZ1)
  • The area adjacent to the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Bowling Green Bay (see zoning map MPZ8)
  • One Tree Island (see zoning map MPZ17)

Refer to the Zoning Plan for further details.

Participation in the ReefVTS

If your vessel has an overall length of 50 metres or greater you are required to participate in the Coastal Vessel Traffic Service (ReefVTS).

This service provides vessels with shipping traffic information, navigational assistance and maritime safety information to aid on-board decision making.

Contact the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and Maritime Safety Queensland for more details.