Boating waste management and disposal guidelines

Visitors to Rottnest Island value the clean, clear water and unique marine environment. Your help is requested to protect and preserve the Island’s rich marine environment to ensure future visitors can enjoy it as you have.

The RIA has a commitment to keep Rottnest Island waters clean, and a strategy is in place to manage the discharge of waste from vessels which would otherwise damage the marine environment, Rottnest Island’s amenity and pose a public health risk. The RIA’s strategy is aligned with a state-wide strategy and establishes a zoned approach to the Island’s waters. Refer to the appropriate maps at for the Marine Reserve Boundary.

As part of the Sewage discharge guidelines that were implemented for State Waters in Western Australia, three sewage discharge zones were established and applied to all waterways based on the degree of risk to public health and the environment. Further information is available from the Department of Transport

Zone One Regulations

All the waters in the Rottnest Island Reserve are classified as Zone 1, and MSDs will not be able to be used to discharge waste anywhere in this area. 

Under the jurisdiction of the Fremantle Port Authority the following regulations apply for Zone 1:

  • no discharge of blackwater
  • no discharge of solid waste
  • no discharge of fuel, oils and lubricants
  • no greywater discharge within the Reserve

Waters outside of the RIA’s Reserve Boundary are classified as Zone 2.


  • Vessel: Anything used or capable of being used in navigation by water and includes air-cushioned vehicles, yachts, boats or barges, used for recreational or commercial purposes.
  • Blackwater: Human body wastes, including wastes from any marine sanitation device.
  • Greywater: Wastewater from showers, hand basins, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Fuels, Oils and Lubricants: Any fuel oil or lubricant either directly discharged or mixed with bilge water.
  • Solid Waste: Any waste material of solid composition including but not limited to plastic, metals, food scraps or paper.
  • Marine Sanitation Device (MSD): Any toilet (head) and associated plumbing and holding tanks onboard a vessel to receive, treat, retain or discharge human body wastes.

Standards for Approved MSDs

The Department of Health is responsible for approving MSDs that treat blackwater to an acceptable standard for discharge into Zone 2. To determine whether a MSD treats blackwater to an approved standard contact the Department of Environmental Health’s Wastewater Management Section.

The RIA’s Management of Waste From Vessels

Other initiatives are in place to monitor the impact of waste from vessels. These include:

  • encouraging boat users to take litter home with them to minimise their impact on Rottnest Island
  • provision of recycling bins
  • continued research into the influence of water circulation patterns of various bays of Rottnest Island
  • the upgrade of onshore toilet facilities
  • research into the impact of greywater

For further information or comment on waste discharge from vessels in Rottnest Waters, please contact the Rottnest Island Authority on 08 9432 9300...