What is an aquatic event authority?

An organised activity on water by an individual or organisation (for  example swimming races, sailing and yachting regattas, waterskiing competitions, powerboat races and fireworks displays) where  the event is likely to affect the normal operation of ships in the area of the event.

Organisers must obtain the consent of the regulating authority, either the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) or Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) who will assess the application.

It is an offence to hold an aquatic event without appropriate consent. To avoid disappointment check MSQ’s website for restricted areas or speed limits and contact GCWA about scheduled aquatic events in Gold Coast waterways before submitting your application.


Low Risk events: Applications must be submitted no less than 30 days prior to the proposed event (e.g. sailing, yachting regattas, swimming races)

For High Risk events: Applications must be submitted no less than 90 days prior to the proposed event (e.g. waterskiing, power boat race display)


An application will be refused if there is insufficient time to allow for due consideration of all marine safety aspects.

Who do I apply to for an aquatic event authority?

If your event is to be held entirely within Gold Coast waters: GCWA. If your event is to be held entirely outside Gold Coast waters and or occur across both areas: MSQ

If the consent to hold an aquatic event is granted, GCWA will issue you with an aquatic event authority with conditions imposed, specific to the event to ensure marine safety for all waterway users in or near the event area.

Application process

To make an application to hold an aquatic event you must:

  • Complete an Aquatic Event Authority Application form
  • Pay the prescribed fee. Payments may be made by mail or in person. Payment options include: cash, cheque, money order, EFTPOS (in person) debit and credit card
  • Provide supporting documentation. Download our Aquatic Events Application Checklist to ensure you have all the required information before lodging your application.
  • You are responsible for providing us with satisfactory documentation and information to support the application. An application is not considered to be lodged until all the required supporting documentation has been supplied.

Last updated: 13 June 2017

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