Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Coastal pilotage

International significance

The environmental and cultural significance of the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions is recognised the world over.

Mandatory coastal pilotage in key areas

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park was established in 1975, and added to the World Heritage list in 1981.

In 1990, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) designated the Great Barrier Reef as the world’s first Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA).

The IMO extended the existing Great Barrier Reef PSSA to include the Torres Strait in 2005.

The Torres Strait and Great Barrier Reef are used by a wide variety of vessels including:

  • large tankers
  • container ships
  • bulk carriers
  • cruise ships
  • traditional fishing boats
  • large, commercial fishing trawlers
  • pleasure craft.

In these regions, all but the smallest vessels are confined to a few well-defined routes which are potentially hazardous to navigation. These routes are frequently very narrow and/or shallow, confined by many charted dangers, and strongly influenced by tides and tidal streams. The Australian Government is committed to providing measures to protect the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait region.

Mandatory coastal pilotage in key areas is one of these measures.

Further information

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