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Rottnest Island

Boating on Rottnest Island

Download the Marine and Boating Guide 2014-2015

Navigate your way to Rottnest Island

Western Australia has the highest per capita boat ownership in Australia, and Rottnest Island is WA boaties’ favourite destination. Navigate your way to Rottnest Island and discover a unique marine environment!

Situated 18 kilometres from the Perth metropolitan area, Rottnest Island has some of the most pristine reefs, beaches and bays in the world and the southern most tropical coral reef in Australia. 135 species of tropical fish live in and around the Island’s reefs, compared to only 11 species along the metropolitan coastline. Overall, 450 species of fish and 20 species of coral are found in Rottnest Island waters. The waters of Rottnest Island are also home to Bottlenose Dolphins and Australian Sea Lions at various times of year. Migrating whales pass through the area on their way to and from northern breeding grounds.

To conserve this special marine environment, admission fees apply to all boats visiting the Island. Admission fees contribute to the conservation of Rottnest Island and maintenance of facilities and services. Sanctuary zones, no boating areas, speed limits and other guidelines are in place to balance recreation activities with the natural environment. Please help look after Rottnest Island by observing the guidelines as outlined on the linked pages.

The Rottnest Safety Convoy

The Boating Industry Association of Western Australia runs regular Boating Convoys to Rottnest Island. The Rottnest Safety Convoy is an event for boat owners and their families and friends. The convoys are for seagoing craft that are between five and ten metres in length and capable of maintaining a consistent minimum speed of 15 knots. Contact the Boating Industry Association of Western Australia or visit the Department of Transport for more information.

Fuel and Potable Water

Fuel, (Diesel, Unleaded and Premium Unleaded) is available from the Fuel Jetty in Thomson Bay: 24 hours/ 7 days a week - self service. Payment to be made by credit card (Mastercard or Visa) or EFTPOS. Small quantities of unleaded fuel and LPG are available from the Geordie Bay Store.

Potable water is available at three points on the Fuel Jetty and a single point on the Geordie Bay Jetty. On the Fuel Jetty there is a 20m retractable hose near the gantry, and the same on the western side of the Geordie Bay Jetty. Users are asked to only take what water is necessary and reminded that both areas are 20 minute loading zones.

Additional Vessel Length Increase Trial - 10 Metre Rigid Inflatable Vessel (RIB)

Following representation from a number of large vessel owners the RIA has approved a trial commence 1st May 2013 and run for two summer seasons to enhance the existing “additional vessel” protocols.  It will allow Licensees of moorings that are certified to hold vessels 20 metres or greater to seek approval to increase the “additional vessel” size from 6.75m to 10.0m for rigid inflatable vessel (RIB).

The RIA is conscious that many vessels greater than 20m have frequently have an additional vessel greater than 6.75m.  The spirit of this trial is to work with vessel owners to enhance their boating experience to the Reserve, whilst still maintaining safe and clear passage between vessels and moorings at all times. The trial is designed to test the feasibility of the increase and a few basic working criteria need to apply to ensure its success.  Some of the criteria may need to be modified from time to time to achieve a positive outcome.  

These are:
  1. Licensees must first seek written approval from the RIA to increase their mooring “additional vessel” size to 10m. Assessment will be made on an individual basis at the discretion of the RIA. Email  with your request
  2. The RIA must receive from the Licensees chosen mooring contractor written certification that the mooring is suitable.
  3. The mooring buoy must display “+ 10m” or “+ 6.75m”. There is no optional other sizes for additional vessel certification.
  4. Only rigid inflatable type vessels greater than 6.75m but not exceeding 10m can participate in this trial.
  5. The additional vessel must be rafted along the port side only and cannot swing off the stern.
  6. Only one (1) addition vessel up to 10 meters is permitted alongside the mother vessel at any one time.
  7. All additional vessels must be registered with the RIA and cannot use a swing mooring independently, unless that vessel has been issued with the appropriate RIA authorisation.
  8. The additional vessel cannot exceed the mother vessel in length.
This trial does not impede on the use of “tenders” which are defined as less than 3.75m.  ALL vessels greater than 3.75m are classed and treated as “additional vessels” and must comply with current regulations.

Boating visitor survey results

In June 2010, a dedicated survey of Rottnest Island’s boating visitors was conducted for the first time. The aim of the survey was to investigate marine capacity issues and gain information about the needs of boating visitors which would assist the Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) in providing facilities and services to them.

For more information on the survey and results follow this link.


The RIA in conjunction with Department of Transport Marine Safety has established a “No Swimming” area between the Main and Fuel Jetties.  The boundaries are from the barge landing site along the Main Jetty to the end, to the southern tip of “T” of the Fuel Jetty (fuel bowsers), along the northern side of the Fuel Jetty to the end of the Ranger boat pen, then back to the barge landing site.  This area was declared a no swimming area because of the risks associated with the high volume of private and commercial vessels that use this area.  Some of these vessels have restricted manoeuvrability. Signs have been erected in some of the closed areas.

For more information regarding this ' No Swimming' area in Thomson Bay please read the following map (PDF 4MB) carefully, and the current Marine and Boating Guide.

New sanctuary zone buoys in place

Sanctuary zone buoys are installed in reserve waters and will remain in water until after the June long weekend each year. Upon removal in June, the buoy mooring weights will remain in position and will be marked with a sub-surface float at a depth of approximately 6m. The sanctuary zone buoys will be re-installed by 15th October each year. All buoys have been fitted with reflective tape to increase their visibility at night. Please refer to the sanctuary maps and the current Marine and Boating Guide.

More Information

Please view the Marine Useful Links in the column to the right for PDF guides and links to other resources.

Marine Administration
Phone: + 61 8 9432 9111