Superyachts are a great way to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. You can access most of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park on these luxury sailing or motor vessels.
There is different information available about superyacht use in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, depending on whether you are a recreational visitor or commercial operator.
If you are providing transport, accommodation or services for tourists, guests or other persons who have paid for passage on, or the charter of, the vessel, then you are a commercial superyacht. Commercial superyachts require a permit to operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. All other use of a superyacht is considered to be recreational and do not require a permit.
For information about superyacht use in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park you can view the following printable guides or see further information below:
- Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays
- Superyacht Management Arrangements Note: Whitsundays related information in this document is not current. For information relating to the Whitsundays refer to the Superyacht Guide to the Whitsundays above.
Onboard – the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s online Tourism Operator’s Handbook for operating in one of the world’s most unique and treasured natural environments.
Private recreational use of superyachts
Where you can go
As a recreational user you may access most of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. You do need to be aware of certain things, including: the length of your superyacht, group size, zoning, and the activities you do.
Length of superyacht
The overall length of your superyacht matters when operating in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
In some areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park there are special management strategies in place to manage use. As some of these rules apply to vessel length and group size, they will relate to you.
Click on the links below for information about superyacht use in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park according to the length of your superyacht:
- Superyachts 35 metres or less in overall length
- Superyachts more than 35 to less than 70 metres in overall length
- Superyachts 70 metres or more in overall length
Note: Overall length is defined as 110 per cent of the vessel’s load-line certification. If the overall length cannot be worked out using this method it is the distance between:
- a vertical line passing through a point that is the foremost part of the stem; and
- a vertical line passing through a point that is the aftermost part of the stern.
What activities you do
For each zone there is a range of activities that may or may not be undertaken (for example, no fishing in the Marine National Park Zone (green zone)). Use the zoning maps to check that your activities match the zoning for that area. Some specific recreational activities may have special rules:
If you use helicopters (be aware of flight heights over significant bird sites) or semi-submersibles, please contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
In addition to the management arrangements for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, other rules may also apply to the operation of your superyacht in Queensland waters. For additional information click on the above links for your vessel length.
If you're heading out on the water, download and use the free zoning app so you know where you can go and what you can do.
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