Superyachts 35 metres or less

Recreational superyachts 35 metres or less are able to access all zones except for the Preservation Zone (pink zone) of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Some areas that experience high use or have high conservation values have additional management arrangements. 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.

  • You can enter the Locations provided your group size (including crew) is within the following limits set for each Location:
    • Low-Use Location - 15 people
    • Moderate-Use Location - 60 people
    • Intensive-Use Location - no limit.
  • Some Locations in the Cairns Planning Area have been identified as having special values and are defined as Sensitive Locations. There are special requirements when accessing these Locations.
  • Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

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

  • Please use the Hinchinbrook transit lanes.
  • If your vessel is more than 20 metres in length, you must not operate the vessel in the Missionary Bay Location unless you are using the transit lanes.
  • If your vessel is equal to 35 metres in length additional rules apply.

When you are in this area please travel at less than:

    • 25 knots within transit lanes
    • 10 knots 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.
  • Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

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

For information about superyacht use in the Whitsundays specifically you can view the printable Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays or see further information below:

Superyachts of this size are treated the same as other recreational vessels of the same size. You are able to access and anchor at:

  • setting 1 (intensive), 2 (high use), 3 (moderate use) and 4 (low use) areas provided that your group size (including crew) and overall vessel length is correct for that setting area (See Settings in the Whitsunday Planning Area)
  • setting 5 (protected) areas where a vessel is 20 metres or less in length
  • outside of a setting area.

Make sure you are also aware of the locations of no-anchoring areas and significant bird sites.

Some specific recreational activities may have special rules. Please click on the links below for more information:

A vast network of public moorings is available to use. Before using a public mooring it is essential to be aware of important mooring information about how to use one.

Please refer to the Whitsundays Plan of Management or the Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays for more detailed information.

Special management areas

Restricted Access Special Management Areas cannot be accessed except where permitted. These include:

Refer to the Zoning Plan for further details.

Maritime Cultural Heritage Protection Special Management Areas are highly significant sites and you may only access these areas with a permit. These areas are:

  • Catalina A24-24 (see zoning map MPZ10) located offshore from Bowen
  • Catalina A24-25 (see zoning map MPZ6) located offshore from Bramston Beach.

Special access requirements also apply at the Yongala historic shipwreck and other historic shipwreck sites. Visit historic shipwreck protected zones for more information.

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