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Public moorings and no anchoring areas

Protecting coral

Queensland marine parks are home to abundant and diverse marine life, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Corals are among the most popular attractions, yet they are the most vulnerable.

Coral reefs can be damaged by:

  • a vessel’s anchor and chain dropping or dragging on coral
  • a vessel grounding when the wind changes or the tide ebbs
  • a chain or rope wrapping around coral or breaking pieces off.

It may take many years for coral to recover. Some coral never returns to its original condition. By taking a little extra care when anchoring, and using public moorings where available, you will help protect this delicate underwater landscape.

Image of public mooring vessel class and size sticker. View larger image.

Public moorings

Public moorings are installed at popular locations and have blue, cone shaped buoys with a colour-coded band. This band tells you the class (vessel length), time limits and maximum strength limits that apply to the mooring. Mooring specifications and conditions of use are also displayed on the mooring tag attached to the pick-up line.

When using moorings be aware that:

  • public moorings are available to all recreational and commercial users
  • all public moorings are available for overnight use
  • all public moorings have a time limit on day use. A vessel cannot occupy a mooring for longer that the time limit specified on the mooring tag between the hours of 7am and 5pm. Moorings may have a two, four or 24-hour limit. This ensures fair and equitable use. If a vessel picks up a mooring with a two or four-hour limit, on or after 3pm, it may remain until 9am the next day
  • public moorings must not be used by more than one craft at a time (ancillary craft exempted), unless otherwise stated
  • care should be taken to comply with all information displayed on the mooring tag
  • it is an offence to remove, misuse or engage in conduct that results in damage to a public mooring.

If you have found a damaged mooring or a buoy that has come adrift, please make a note of any markings, its GPS position and report it on 13QGOV (13 74 68).

QPWS Public Mooring Classes
Mooring ClassVessel Size LimitMooring Colour BandMax Design Wind Speed
T6 metresBrown24 knots
AMonohull 10 metres or Cat 9 metresYellow24 knots
BMonohull 20 metres or Cat 18 metresGreen34 knots (up to gale warning)
CMonohull 25 metres or Cat 22 metresBlue34 knots (up to gale warning)/ 24 knots Moreton
DMonohull 35 metres or Cat 30 metresRed34 knots (up to gale warning)
Image of reef protection area marker.

No anchoring areas

Marine parks in Queensland contain many well-developed fringing reefs that are particularly vulnerable to anchor damage. To protect these highly diverse coral communities, there are no anchoring areas where anchoring is not allowed.

Reef protection markers have been installed to mark the no-anchoring areas. The markers are easily identified by their white, pyramid-shaped buoys with a blue label (joined with an imaginary line).

No-anchoring areas in state Marine Parks are defined (unless indicated otherwise) by placing two or more reef protection markers in a way such that the no-anchoring area is the area formed by the following lines:

(a)  the lines made by joining each of the reef protection markers; and

  • (i) if the reef protection markers are installed at a fringing reef- the lines that run from each end of the line of reef protection markers mentioned in paragraph (a) and then extend to the closest point of low water at each end of the line; and
  • (ii) the line that runs along low water between the lines mentioned in paragraph (i).
Image showing example of no-anchoring area. View larger image.

Never anchor on the reef flat inshore of the buoys. You can anchor directly on the beach provided there are no tidal restrictions. Please note that reef protection markers are not strong enough to moor vessels and should not be used as a mooring.

Public moorings and responsible anchoring - Protecting coral in the Great Barrier Reef

Public moorings and responsible anchoring - Protecting coral in the Great Barrier Reef

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