What are Buoy Moorings?

Buoy moorings are used to secure vessels and provide an alternative to anchoring and other methods of storage. A buoy mooring is attached to the seabed, through a system of ropes, cables or chains with a float or buoy on the surface to mark the location of the vessel.

A key part of our role is to responsibly manage our buoy mooring areas to accommodate the Gold Coast’s rapidly increasing population and growth in vessel registrations, while embracing new technology to reduce the impact of buoy moorings on the marine environment and to provide safer moorings that are less prone to dragging in bad weather.

You’ll need a buoy mooring authority to establish a buoy mooring for use by a recreational or commercial vessel. We may grant the authorities for vessels that are of a size that generally can’t be transported by trailer. We carefully consider all mooring areas with special attention to depth, the nature of the seabed, maximum vessel size, proximity to navigation channels, private pontoons and jetties (as well as other moorings), and locations in the Moreton Bay Marine Park (where additional requirements apply).


Our Buoy Mooring Management Strategy is a guiding framework for responsibly managing buoy moorings in Gold Coast waterways into the future.  This strategy was approved by the GCWA Board in August 2017.

It’s the next stage in a long-term consultation process which examines the way buoy moorings are established, used and managed on the Gold Coast.

The Buoy Mooring Management Strategy will guide GCWA’s approach to policy, information provision, operations and consultation. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to keep up to date on the Strategy’s implementation.

Click here to read the latest on the Buoy Mooring Strategy and find out more about Environmentally Friendly Moorings.

Buoy Mooring Areas

There are 3 types of buoy mooring areas:

  • Category 1 areas are managed and controlled by mooring managers, through agreements with GCWA. The Southern Broadwater mooring area near Sundale Bridge is a defined Category 1 area.
  • Category 2 areas are considered to be a higher risk for marine safety, environmental or navigational reasons. There are currently no defined Category 2 areas in the Gold Coast waterway.
  • Category 3 areas are all other mooring areas in Gold Coast waterways.

Buoy Mooring Maps

There are 13 buoy mooring areas across Gold Coast waters.

Mooring Areas in the Moreton Bay Marine Park

All buoy moorings that are established in the Moreton Bay Marine Park must be an environmentally friendly mooring (EFM), in accordance with the requirements of Marine Parks legislation.

Further, the establishment of buoy moorings within the Moreton Bay Marine Park is strictly monitored and controlled and all buoy moorings must be established within Designated Mooring Area (DMAs) approved by the Department of Environment and Science.

Mooring Areas in the Broadwater and other locations

Buoy Mooring Types

There are types of buoy mooring authorities for Category 2 & 3 buoy mooring areas:

  • Restricted use buoy moorings, which are limited to one vessel that is greater than 6 metres in length and registered or owned by the authority holder. This type of buoy mooring is for use by one particular vessel only.
  • Unrestricted use buoy moorings, which are only available for genuine commercial use; for example, government agencies, marine industry, commercial fleet operations, or for those who own more than one commercial vessel. Only one vessel may use the buoy mooring at any time.

Buoy Mooring Uses

The holder of a buoy mooring authority must not carry on a business activity from the approved buoy mooring.  The buoy mooring must only be used for the storage of the vessel.

How do I get a buoy mooring?

For all buoy mooring enquiries, please contact the Gold Coast Waterways Authority on 07 5539 7350.

I’ve seen a buoy mooring advertised for rent, is this allowed?

Restricted use buoy moorings can only be used by the authority holder for the particular vessel stated in the authority. On-the-spot fines can be issued by shipping inspectors for unlawful use of a buoy mooring.

On-going management and renewal of buoy mooring authorities

If you’re the holder of a buoy mooring authority issued by GCWA, you will have seen the words “First and Final” on the last renewal reminder that we’ve sent you. With the implementation of our new Buoy Mooring Management Strategy, we’re aiming to send all renewal reminders at least 4 weeks before the expiry date of the buoy mooring authority.

To renew your buoy mooring authority, you must do ALL of the following:

  1. Inspect the buoy mooring, to ensure all equipment of the buoy mooring is in good condition and fit for purpose for the term of the authority (that is, up to its date of expiry).
    •  If you have a traditional buoy mooring, you must either engage the services of a competent person who can produce a ‘Mooring Inspection Report’ about the condition of the buoy mooring; or if you can inspect the buoy mooring yourself, you must properly declare before a Justice of the Peace or a Commissioner for Declarations the “Mooring Inspection Report Statutory Declaration” that covers all the information about the condition of the buoy mooring that we require to make a decision about your renewal.
    •  If you have an Environmentally Friendly Mooring (EFM), you must engage the services of the manufacturer, or a competent person approved by the manufacturer, to provide a “Mooring Inspection Report” about the condition of the EFM.
      2. Take a clear, current photo of the stated ship using the buoy mooring.
      3. Complete and sign the application for renewal that we send to you, making any necessary changes to your contact details, if necessary; and
      4. Pay the required fee; and
      5. Send the Mooring Inspection Report, the signed application for renewal, the photo of the stated ship, together with a cheque for the fee ALL IN A SINGLE ENVELOPE; or present to our office counter with all of the required material and make payment of the fee by cash, credit card or cheque in person.

Further, if any amendments are needed to the authority, GCWA will require a request in writing with reasons for the change.

If you submit only part of the required material, or the application is incomplete in any way (for example, missing any one of the documents, or your statutory declaration is not complete, signed and properly witnessed), we will return your documents to you. If this happens, you may miss the expiry date of the buoy mooring authority and thereby miss the opportunity to renew the authority.

Timing of your renewal

You must apply to renew your buoy mooring authority before its expiry date. Once the expiry date has passed, the authority cannot be renewed.

Contacting GCWA – by phone on 5539 7350 – by email at mail@gcwa.qld.gov.au

You are welcome to contact us if you have any questions about your renewal. However, please remember that to renew your buoy mooring authority, you must make the application for renewal as set out above, before the authority expires.

 Use electronic reminders – don’t let your buoy mooring authority expire if you wish to renew it

We strongly recommend that you put a reminder in your calendar or smart phone to make sure you arrange the inspection of the buoy mooring each year well ahead of the expiry date. Also make sure that the inspection report covers the full term of your buoy mooring authority.

 Coordinate with other buoy mooring authority holders

There may be benefit in speaking to neighbouring buoy mooring authority holders to arrange multiple mooring inspections at one time. Please plan ahead.

 Replacing your mooring block

If your buoy mooring is within the Moreton Bay Marine Park and you need to replace your mooring block (whether it’s a concrete block or some other kind of device), the buoy mooring will need to be replaced with a new type of buoy mooring called an Environmentally Friendly Mooring (EFM), which is a requirement under marine parks legislation. You can find out more details about EFMs by following this link: http://hlw.org.au/initiatives/environmentally-friendly-moorings-sad-14646

It is unlawful to replace a traditional block and tackle buoy mooring with a similar traditional buoy mooring in the Moreton Bay Marine Park. Please contact us to let us know if you establish an EFM because this will help to inform our planning for transition to EFMs.

General information about the Moreton Bay Marine Park can be found at: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/contactus/  Alternatively, you can email info@npsr.qld.gov.au  or phone 13 74 68 (13 QGOV).

Can I sell or transfer my buoy mooring?

No. The authority for a buoy mooring is an authority issued to you. You cannot sell, lease or transfer the buoy mooring authority. To do so would contravene a condition of the authority, which is a ground to cancel the authority.


If you sell or otherwise dispose of the vessel for your buoy mooring authority, you may either:

1. apply for an amendment to the authority, identifying a suitable replacement vessel* for that buoy mooring within 30 days of the date of disposal of the original vessel (you must provide a bill of sale or proof of vessel registration in your name as the holder of the buoy mooring authority); or

2. you may surrender the buoy mooring authority.

If you choose to surrender the buoy mooring authority, and following an assessment process, GCWA may be able to offer the location for the buoy mooring to the next person on the waiting list for that buoy mooring area.  As the holder of a buoy mooring authority, you do not “own” the location of the sea bed for the buoy mooring and the buoy mooring authority does not hold any value.  The buoy mooring authority is an approval for you to do something; that is, to establish a buoy mooring.

*suitable replacement vessel means a vessel greater than 6 metres that cannot be transported by trailer, which in the view of GCWA, would be suitable to use the buoy mooring. The buoy mooring authority holder must apply to GCWA for an amendment to the authority if he or she wishes to change the vessel using the buoy mooring. The authority holder must provide GCWA with all details of the replacement vessel, to enable a properly informed assessment of space requirements (depth and swing) for the location of the buoy mooring. Please make enquiries with GCWA before purchasing  a replacement vessel.

For all buoy mooring information, please contact the Gold Coast Waterways Authority on 07 5539 7350.


A vessel using a buoy mooring must exhibit an all-round white anchor light at night time, of the prescribed intensity described by the Collision Regulation. The anchor light is a condition of all buoy mooring authorities, and you must comply with the condition.



Last updated: 10 October 2019