Australian Marine Parks

Many of Australia’s busiest commercial shipping lanes pass through, or near to, Australian Marine Parks. Ships carrying cargo and passengers, both internationally and domestically, provide important trade links to the world and support the economy.

Where can commercial ships go?

Commercial ships can transit any zone of an Australian Marine Park except for Sanctuary Zones.

Commercial ships can anchor in Special Purpose Zones and Multiple Use Zones. Commercial ships are not allowed to anchor in any other zones.

These requirements do not prevent stopping and anchoring due to circumstances of force majeure or distress or for the purposes of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress.

Note – commercial ships do not include commercial fishing, pearling, aquaculture and tourism vessels. Information on these types of vessels can be found on these links:

For further information about the zones and rules in each marine park, check the factsheetson each network.

Do commercial ships need an approval?

No. Commercial ships do not need to apply for a permit or approval to operate within Australian Marine Parks.

What other activities can commercial ships do in a marine park?

Commercial ships can discharge and exchange ballast water in all zones except Sanctuary Zones provided it is compliant with Australian ballast water requirements.

Waste from normal operations of commercial ships may be disposed of in all zones except Sanctuary Zones provided it is compliant with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

Other ocean disposal activities are regulated by the Sea Dumping Act. Permits from the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water are required for all ocean disposal activities.

How can I be involved in marine park management?

We currently work in partnership with a range of marine park users and stakeholders to manage, protect and better understand our marine parks.

If you’re interested in being involved in the management of Australian Marine Parks, please contact us via email.