Moorings and No-anchoring areas

Where available, moorings help to minimise anchor damage to fragile environments. There are two types of moorings in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park:

Public moorings

Public moorings are available to all Reef users and are installed at popular locations. Blue double cone-shaped buoys attached to the moorings have a colour-coded band explaining the class (vessel length), time limits and maximum wind strength limits applicable to the mooring.

Public mooring locations and their GPS coordinates are available to help you locate these moorings.

No-anchoring areas

Image of Reef Protection Marker

Most No-anchoring areas are marked by Reef Protection Markers.

No-anchoring areas protect coral reefs from anchor damage. A person must not drop an anchor for a vessel, aircraft or any other facility in a no-anchoring area.

The majority of no-anchoring areas are marked by white pyramid-shaped buoys with a blue label. There are unmarked no-anchoring areas at Cod Hole and Lizard Island within the Cairns Planning Area and at Bait Reef and Hook Island within the Whitsunday Planning Area. Please see the maps below for the locations of all no-anchoring areas (marked and unmarked) within the Marine Park.


Cairns/Cooktown Management Area:

Townsville/Whitsunday Management Area:

  • Overview map — public moorings and no-anchoring areas in the Whitsundays

Mackay/Capricorn Management Area:

Mooring in the Great Barrier Reef - Copyright image Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service

Mooring your board in the Great Barrier Reef

Using public moorings

To protect fragile reefs in high-use areas, there are rules to help stop misuse of public moorings and reef protection markers. The rules include:

  • exceeding time limits
  • attaching more than one vessel to a public mooring
  • rafting-up – attaching multiple vessels in a chain when one vessel is attached to the mooring
  • altering the mooring
  • not following the instructions on the mooring.

These rules ensure public moorings continue to be available for everyone's use. It's about playing fair while out on the water. Anyone found to be misusing a public mooring or public infrastructure may be issued with a fine. The appropriate use of public moorings is outlined in Regulation 171 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019.

Moorings policy

Great Barrier Reef moorings policy.

I've found a damaged mooring or loose buoy – whom should I tell?

If you have found a damaged mooring, please make a note of any markings and its GPS position so it can be reported. If you have found a buoy that has come adrift, please report it:

  • If it’s a blue public mooring, please contact Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on 13 QGOV (13 74 68) .
  • If it’s any other colour, it’s likely to be a private mooring (it should have a number on it, for example GM0123). Please contact us on (07) 4750 0700 or you can report it online.