Navigation services

Our range of navigation services includes marine navigation and e-navigation.

We deliver a range of navigational services to help ships navigate safely within Australian waters.

Marine navigation

Marine navigation is planning, ascertaining and directing a watercraft's voyage. The practice of marine navigation involves:

  • good seamanship
  • professional knowledge and judgement
  • the application of science and technology.

We continually review the effectiveness of current safety, navigation and management measures, and identifying additional or enhanced measures that may be needed in the future. The Navigational Services in Australian Waters 2010—2025 provides an overview of our principles and strategies for delivery of navigational services.

Our services provide ships with the ability to navigate safely around Australia's coastline and to and from its ports. Our services include:

These services are funded from the marine navigation levy, paid by the commercial shipping industry.


E-navigation is an International Maritime Organization (IMO) led initiative aiming to provide information in electronic formats to a ship’s bridge team, and streamline the way maritime authorities, agencies and other stakeholders gather and exchange information. 

E-navigation will integrate new and existing bridge technologies and equipment and provide global maritime data services to enhance the safety and efficiency of shipping.

Australia has been active in two areas integral to the future of e-navigation:

  • human centred design (HCD)
  • positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services.  

A significant part of Australia’s work on HCD for e-navigation was approved in 2015: a Guideline on Software Quality Assurance and Human Centred Design for E-navigation. 

The Human Centred Design and Software Quality Assurance Guidelines for E-navigation video introduces the guideline and outlines what it covers.   

The IMO agreed to several e-navigation outputs that will be progressed between now and 2019. The International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities and the International Hydrographic Organization are working closely with the IMO on these initiatives.

We will continue to contribute to these initiatives, focusing on the human element and the provision of appropriate PNT.

Shipping management and Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait protection measures

We work closely with Commonwealth and state government organisations, the shipping industry and international organisations to ensure our supporting services and regulatory responses provide high standards of safety and protection of the marine environment.

Our regulatory response include initiatives such as:

  • the provision of an optimised, annually-reviewed and cost effective network of aids to navigation
  • up to date marine orders that ensure Australia upholds its international obligations to ensure safe and secure shipping in Australian waters
  • ongoing refinement of coastal pilotage arrangements within the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait
  • implementing protection measures for the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait
  • developing shipping management plans for sensitive and high traffic areas
  • ongoing engagement with industry, particularly when new developments will affect shipping traffic
  • engagement with the offshore industry to ensure high levels of safety.
Last updated: 1 December 2017
Last reviewed: 1 December 2017