What are Buoy Moorings?

Buoy moorings are used to secure ships 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 inclement weather.

You’ll need a buoy mooring authority to access a buoy mooring for recreational or commercial use. We offer a limited number of buoy moorings for boats that are of a size that generally can’t be transported by trailer. We carefully consider all mooring sites with special attention to depth, maximum vessel size, proximity to navigation channels, private pontoons and jetties as well as other moorings, and location in the Moreton Bay Marine Park (where additional requirements apply).


Our Buoy Mooring Management Strategy (Draft) is a proposed guiding framework for responsibly managing buoy moorings in Gold Coast waterways into the future.

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

Once approved by the Board, the final Buoy Mooring Management Strategy will guide GCWA’s approach to policy, information provision, operations and consultation. Subscribe to our e-newsletter to keep updated on the progress.

Buoy Mooring Areas

There are three 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 declared 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 public buoy mooring areas in regions of Gold Coast waters.

Mooring Areas in the Moreton Bay Marine Park

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

Installation of buoy moorings within the Moreton Bay Marine Park is strictly monitored and controlled and all moorings must be installed within the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing approved Designated Mooring Area (DMA).

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 moorings are limited to one vessel which must exceed 6 metres overall length and be owned by the authority holder. This is for use by one ship and only the approved ship that is registered or owned by the authority holder is allowed to moor at the approved buoy mooring.
  • Unrestricted moorings are only available for commercial use eg. government agencies, marine industry businesses with a genuine and legitimate need, commercial fleet operations or those who own more than one commercial vessel. No more than one nominated ship may use the approved buoy mooring at any one time.

How do I get a buoy mooring?

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

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

Buoy Moorings can only be used by the authority holder and their nominated vessel/s. Infringement notices can be issued for unlawful use of a buoy mooring.

Can I sell or transfer my buoy mooring?


If you sell or otherwise dispose of the nominated vessel for your mooring you can either nominate a new vessel for that mooring (you must provide proof of registration in the buoy mooring authority holder’s name) or you must relinquish the authority back to us. The authority will then be offered to the next person on the waiting list for that area. You do not “own” the site and the authority does not appreciate in value.

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


Last updated: 20 June 2017

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