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 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.

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.

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 notice that we’ve sent you. With the implementation of our new Buoy Mooring Management Strategy, we’re aiming to send all renewal notices 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, either by engaging the services of a competent person who can produce a ‘Mooring Inspection Report’; or if you can inspect the buoy mooring yourself, properly make the ‘Mooring Inspection Report’  statutory declaration that we send you about the condition of the buoy mooring; and
  2. Sign the renewal letter (making any necessary changes to address etc. remembering to justify any changes – Note; increased vessel sizes are assessed); and
  3. Pay the required fee; and
  4. Send the Mooring Inspection Report, the signed renewal letter and a cheque for the fee all in the one envelope or present to our office counter with ALL of the required material and make payment of the fee in person.

If you submit only part of the required material, or the application is incomplete in anyway (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.

 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 an Environmentally Friendly Mooring (EFM) buoy mooring. 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 buoy mooring with traditional block and tackle with a similar 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?


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: 10 October 2017

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