Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Kids and Teachers resources

Teaching you about maritime safety.

The following pages provide information and educational material about the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and the marine environment. Copies of material may be made and distributed for community education purposes without infringing copyright.

100 years of national management of lighthouses interactive map

This year is the centenary of the Australian Government's management of lighthouses and other aids to navigation in Australian waters. 

The first marine light on Australian soil was built just a few years after the colony’s founding in 1788. This was simply an iron basket on a tripod finally replaced in 1818 by Australia’s first lighthouse – Macquarie Light.

In June 1911 the Lighthouses Act came into effect after an extensive report into the condition of existing state lighthouses and the need for more. On 1 July 1915 the Commonwealth officially accepted responsibility for all light stations around Australia.

From the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service’s inception in 1915, through various Commonwealth agencies (including AMSA since 1991), the Australian Government has been responsible for the provision of an extensive network of aids to navigation around the coastline, now comprising nearly 490 aids at approximately 380 sites.

Lighthouses are often regarded as romantic symbols in Australian culture, though first and foremost they are a symbol of safety ensuring safe passage for ships along our coastline.

We have celebrated this anniversary with an interactive map detailing our 55 heritage lighthouses.

Search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

On Saturday 8 March 2014, a Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, took off from Kuala Lumpur airport on a six hour flight to Beijing, China. It went missing during the flight and has not been found.

Read about AMSA's involvement with the MH370 search.

Silhouette II Rescue

At 4.17pm on Wednesday 13 February 2008 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre – Australia (RCC) received a telephone call from the brother-in-law of the skipper of the 43ft New Zealand registered catamaran, Silhouette II which was enroute from Brisbane to Wellington with four people on board.

Information received in the telephone conversation indicated that the vessel’s skipper had made a satellite telephone call to his brother-in-law indicating that the Silhouette II was sinking and the crew were abandoning to their liferaft. At this time, the skipper gave his position as approximately 140 nautical miles East of Byron Bay, New South Wales.

Read the Silhouette II rescue case study [pdf iconPDF: 616Kb] and see video 1 and video 2 of the rescue.

Major historical environmental incidents

Please see our page about major historical environmental incidents (oil spills, shipwrecks, etc.).

Fact Sheets

These fact sheets outline the key roles and responsibilities of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in relation to ship sourced pollution. For other fact sheets, publications and brochures regarding any operational or service area of AMSA, please see the Forms and publications page of the website.

Australian and International Maritime organisations websites

To see a list of Australian and International Maritime organisations, please see the useful links page within the About AMSA section of the website as well as a glossary of terms. The International engagement section of the website also provides information about AMSA's international involvement.

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