10/2015—Coastal pilotage

Vessel masters, owners and operators are reminded about the coastal pilotage requirements within the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, as prescribed in Marine Order 54 (Coastal pilotage) 2014.

Supercedes 04/2013

An AMSA-licensed coastal pilot is required for any vessel that navigates in a defined coastal pilotage area:

  1. that is 70m or longer in length overall; or
  2. that is a loaded:
    1. oil tanker; or
    2. chemical carrier; or
    3. liquefied gas carrier

not including naval vessels.

Coastal pilotage areas are defined as:

  • Hydrographers Passage;
  • Inner Route;
  • Torres Strait;
  • Great North East Channel; and
  • Whitsundays.

It is important to note that the master of a vessel is not relieved of responsibility for the conduct and safe navigation of the vessel whilst the vessel is under pilotage1.

Masters or owners may apply to AMSA for exemption from the pilotage requirements of the Navigation Act. An application must also be made to the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority to navigate without a licensed pilot in Hydrographers Passage, Inner Route and Whitsundays.

Coastal Pilotage Area Limits2

Hydrographers Passage pilotage area means the area bounded by a line that progressively joins the following points:

Point           Latitude                Longitude
1                 20º 39.11′S          149º 49.36′E
2                 20º 35.91′S          150º 07.36′E
3                 20º 28.31′S          150º 18.06′E
4                 20º 02.91′S          150º 03.06′E
5                 19º 54.91′S          150º 16.56′E
6                 19º 39.91′S          150º 10.56′E
7                 19º 50.91′S          150º 33.06′E
8                 20º 01.41′S          150º 25.86′E
9                 20º 06.91′S          150º 17.26′E
10               20º 19.91′S          150º 27.06′E
11               20º 32.91′S          150º 27.06′E
12               20º 41.51′S          150º 11.66′E
13               20º 54.41′S          150º 01.96′E
14               20º 39.11′S          149º 49.36′E

Inner Route pilotage area means the waters bounded by:

  1. the Australian mainland; and
  2. the outer eastern edge of the REEFREP reporting area3, and
  3. the northern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef Region  (latitude 10º 41.00′S)4; and
  4. latitude 16º 39.91′S; and
  5. the Torres Strait, excluding the waters to the north of latitude 10º 28.00′S and east of longitude 142º 39.00′E.

Torres Strait means the waters bounded:

  1. on the south by latitude 10º 41.00’S; and
  2. on the east:
    1. for a ship moving eastward - by longitude 143º 22.00’E; or
    2. for any other vessel - by longitude 143º 24.00’E; and
  3. on the north by the line of Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); and
  4. on the west:
    1. for a vessel of less than 8m draught - by longitude 142º 05.00’E; or
    2. for a vessel of 8m draught or more moving eastward - by longitude - 141º 50.00’E; or
    3. for a vessel of 8m draught or more moving westward - by longitude 141º 51.70’E.

Great North East Channel pilotage area means the area bounded by a line that progressively joins the following points:

Point           Latitude                Longitude
1                 10º 41.0′S            141º 50.0′E
2                 10º 28.0′S            141º 50.0′E
3                 10º 28.0S′            142º 27.0′E
4                 10º 18.0′S            142º 48.0′E
5                   9º 48.0′S            143º 08.0′E
6                   9º 30.0′S            143º 24.0′E
7                   9º 45.0′S            143º 24.0′E
8                 10º 20.0′S            143º 00.0′E
9                 10º 41.0′S            141º 50.0′E

Whitsundays pilotage area5 means the area bounded by a line that begins at the northernmost point of Cape Gloucester at low water, at about latitude 20º 03.94′S, longitude 148º 27.51′E, and continues progressively:

Point           Latitude                Longitude
1                 19º 58.02′S          148º 18.60′E
2                 19º 57.83′S          148º 18.53′E
3                 19º 58.00′S          148º 21.68′E
4                 19º 58.28′S          148º 27.05′E
5                 19º 58.37′S          148º 27.40′E
6                 19º 59.28′S          148º 33.62′E
7                 20º 00.82′S          148º 37.48′E
8                 20º 02.17′S          148º 53.07′E
9                 20º 03.58′S          148º 57.92′E
10               20º 14.42′S          149º 10.47′E
11               20º 15.20′S          149º 11.15′E
12               20º 28.93′S          149º 08.03′E
13               20º 31.20′S          149º 09.07′E
14               20º 34.28′S          149º 10.50′E
15               20º 33.91′S          149º 07.06′E
16               20º 39.73′S          148º 45.82′E

  1. to the following points:
  2. west along parallel of latitude 20º 39.73′S to the coastline of the mainland at low water, near Midge Point; and
  3. generally northerly, easterly, south-easterly and north-westerly along the coastline of the mainland at low water to the point where the boundary began.

Download Coastal pilotage—marine notice 10/2015 (PDF 89 KB) (PDF 88.22 KB)

Gary Prosser
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
June 2015

Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181

  1. Navigation Act 2012 section 326.
  2. All coordinates listed are WGS84.
  3. The outer eastern edge of REEFREP reporting area is depicted on official nautical charts produced by the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS).
  4. The Great Barrier Reef Region is defined in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
  5. The Whitsundays pilotage area is defined in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.

Last updated: 

Wednesday 1 February 2023