Private moorings

What is a Private Mooring Licence?

A Private Mooring Licence permits you to moor your vessel on navigable waters. Renewed annually, this licence is not a lease of the seabed and there is no guarantee of tenure. The general position of the site is determined (and may be varied) at the discretion of Roads and Maritime Services. However, it’s the responsibility of your chosen mooring contractor to ensure that the mooring and its location are suitable for your vessel.

A Private Mooring Licence is subject to special conditions. Non-compliance with these conditions may result in the cancellation of your licence and/or any liability insurance for your vessel becoming null and void. See the Private Mooring Licence conditions for more information.

Generally, the maximum number of mooring sites that can be accommodated in any area is subject to a number of considerations. These include water depth, navigational requirements, seagrass beds and foreshore facilities.

A Private Mooring Licence cannot be sublet or traded in any way.

For specific conditions and issues that may relate to your mooring area, please contact Roads and Maritime on 13 12 36.

Private Mooring Licence fees

The annual mooring licence fee is determined by the mooring location and vessel length. If this is your first Private Mooring Licence, an establishment fee will apply.

If you need to change the vessel on a mooring or relocate a vessel to a different mooring site within the same area, conditions and additional mooring fees will apply.

Detailed information about mooring fees.

Obtaining a Private Mooring Licence

Private Mooring Licences are only issued to individuals. They’re not issued to a partnership, company, organisation or association.

A person may not have more than two private moorings in the one designated mooring area.

In mooring areas designated ‘Residents Only’, a person may not have more than one private mooring.  These areas exist in Pittwater and the lower Hawkesbury River. Please contact Roads and Maritime for more information.

A Private Mooring Licence is only issued when:

  • The vessel licensed to the mooring is 5.2 metres or more in length
  • The vessel is currently registered in NSW in the name of the applicant; and
  • The applicant is the sole owner or, at least equal or majority shareholder of the vessel.

Before the licence is issued, the vessel will be subject to a visual assessment. See visual suitability of vessels on moorings to ensure that it’s suitable for your preferred mooring area.

If there isn’t a vacancy at your preferred mooring area, you can, on application and payment of the appropriate fees, have your name added to a Priority Waiting List. These lists are maintained in strict order of receipt of application and payment.

What is a Priority Waiting List?

Priority Waiting Lists exist for each designated mooring area where mooring sites are not immediately available. These lists have been developed to ensure fair and equitable access for all users.

An application fee is required, based on the minimum mooring fee for the area. When your licence is issued, this fee will be deducted from your initial Private Mooring Licence fee.

Priority waiting list fees.

How to apply to be on a Priority Waiting List

Where the area has no immediate site available, you’ll need to:

When a site becomes available and you’re at the top of the Priority Waiting List, the following process will apply:

  • You’ll receive a formal letter, offering you the mooring site
  • Roads and Maritime Services will then require your written acceptance within 14 days from the date of the offer.

If you accept the offer, you’ll have a further 31 days to:

  • Have a suitable vessel registered in your name
  • Complete an Application for Private Mooring Licence (this includes a Statutory Declaration - Vessel Ownership)
  • Provide proof of your identity
  • Pay the remaining fees.

Once the Private Mooring Licence has been issued, you’ll need to:

  • Contact the Boating Safety Officer for an appointment to inspect your vessel and allocate a suitable position
  • Arrange via a mooring contractor, the purchase and positioning of a suitable mooring apparatus at the site allocated by the Boating Safety Officer. It is, however, the responsibility of a mooring contractor to ensure that the mooring and its location are suitable for your vessel
  • Secure your vessel to the mooring.

If you are unable to accept the offer, you may make a written request to remain on the waiting list; however you’ll be placed at the bottom of the list. If you decline a second offer, your name will be removed from the Priority Waiting List completely.  A refund (less an administration fee) will be issued provided you make a written request.

If you don’t respond to the offer within 14 days, we’ll take reasonable steps to contact you. Where we’re not able to contact you, your name will be removed from the Priority Waiting List.

In order to provide applicants with adequate notice of impending offers of a mooring site, letters are issued every three months to the top five applicants on each Priority Waiting List. These letters indicate:

  • Their position on the Priority Waiting List
  • The date of the last offer of a mooring in that area
  • The number of moorings allocated in that area during the last 12 months.

When a site becomes available in an area, it’s offered to the first person on the Priority Waiting List. Some areas have a high turnover, while more popular areas have limited turnover.

How to apply for a mooring in an area with immediate availability

If your preferred area has immediate availability, you’ll need to:

  • Have a suitable vessel registered in your name
  • Complete an Application for Private Mooring Licence (this includes a Statutory Declaration - Vessel Ownership)
  • Provide proof of your identity
  • Pay the appropriate Private Mooring Licence fee, plus the establishment fee. The licence fee is determined by the mooring location and length of your vessel.

Once the Private Mooring Licence is issued, you’ll need to:

  • Contact the Boating Safety Officer for an appointment to inspect your vessel and allocate a suitable position
  • Arrange via a mooring contractor, the purchase and positioning of a suitable mooring apparatus at the site allocated by the Boating Safety Officer. It is, however, the responsibility of a mooring contractor to ensure that the mooring and its location are suitable for your vessel
  • Secure your vessel to the mooring.

Mooring apparatus

Any costs associated with the purchase, installation and servicing of mooring apparatus are your responsibility.  On cancellation, you are required to remove the apparatus from the seabed.

Yellow marker buoy floating in the water with the mooring number shown in black lettering.

Mooring buoys

Mooring marker buoys must be yellow in colour and clearly displayed at all times. The issued mooring licence number should be written in characters at least 50mm high. Roads and Maritime recommends that you use one of the commercially available buoys supplied by ship chandlers or mooring contractors.

Mooring maintenance

Moorings must be adequately maintained, so that they remain able to secure your vessel in the worst conditions.

To ensure your mooring is installed correctly, Roads and Maritime recommends you engage an experienced mooring contractor and use only quality materials. To ensure it remains in good condition, the mooring apparatus must be serviced every 12 months or more frequently if it is subject to specific mooring conditions.

Failure to maintain your mooring apparatus in good condition may result in mooring failure and your vessel going adrift, which can have consequences. Penalties may also apply in this situation.

Proof of mooring service must be produced to Roads and Maritime on request.

As the mooring licensee, you’re responsible at all times for damage caused by your vessel and/or mooring apparatus to any other vessel or property. It’s strongly recommended that you have adequate insurance to cover such contingencies as Roads and Maritime bears no responsibility.

Failure to service your mooring may result in cancellation of your Private Mooring Licence for breach of a condition of the licence and your liability insurance becoming null and void.

Vacancy

Your vessel must not be absent from its mooring for more than 28 consecutive days, unless Roads and Maritime has been notified in writing and written approval has been provided. While your vessel is absent from the mooring, no other vessel is authorised to occupy the site.

Change of vessel

You must notify Roads and Maritime if you intend to change the vessel licensed to your mooring, to allow for the re-assessment of space requirements. Once a suitable replacement vessel is purchased, you must complete an Application to Change Vessel on Mooring (which includes a Statutory Declaration - Vessel Ownership) and pay the appropriate fee.

Transferring a Private Mooring Licence

The transfer of your Private Mooring Licence is subject to conditions and subsequent approval by Roads and Maritime. An Application for Transfer of Private Mooring Licence (which incorporates a Statutory Declaration - Vessel Ownership) must be completed and submitted together with the appropriate fee.

Non Priority Waiting List Area

Your Private Mooring Licence can only be transferred in a Non Priority Waiting List area where the vessel currently licensed to the mooring site has changed ownership and has been registered into the name of the person seeking the transfer.

Priority Waiting List Area

A Private Mooring Licence is not transferable, except in the following circumstances:

  • To a legal or defacto spouse on a once only basis, without restriction, subject to the spouse being the beneficiary of the Will in respect of the Private Mooring Licence and the vessel of a deceased licence holder. The spouse is required to be at least the equal majority shareholder of the vessel
  • To the beneficiary, other than the legal or defacto spouse of a deceased licence holder. A maximum period of 12 months applies if the vessel is retained by the beneficiary.

Relocation

Should you wish to relocate your mooring site within the same designated mooring area, you’ll need to lodge an Application for Relocation of Private Mooring within the same Mooring Area code.

The application will only be processed once your preferred site becomes available. A fee applies and is payable at the time the mooring is relocated. Please note, there is no guarantee as to if, or when, relocation may occur.

If your application is approved, the cost involved to re-position the mooring apparatus will be your responsibility.

Cancellations

Priority Waiting Lists

If you wish to cancel your place on a Priority Waiting List, your cancellation and Request for Refund must made be in writing and signed by you, the applicant. All refund requests will incur an administration fee.

Private Mooring Licence

If you wish to cancel your Private Mooring Licence, your cancellation and Request for Refund must be in writing and signed by you, the licensee. On receipt of your written request, Roads and Maritime will respond and request that your vessel and mooring apparatus be removed within seven days.

Refunds will apply from the date the written notification is received or the vessel and mooring apparatus is removed from the water, whichever is the later. Your refund will not be processed until Roads and Maritime has confirmed removal. All refund requests will incur an administration fee.

Change of address

Roads and Maritime must be advised immediately if your address and/or contact details change by filling out an Adjustment of Records form. This will ensure that all correspondence is sent to the correct address and Roads and Maritime can contact you should there be a problem with your vessel or mooring.

Visual suitability of vessels on moorings

Vessels moored on a private mooring or commercial mooring are subject to a number of conditions. Your vessel must be visually suitable for the bay and be maintained in a seaworthy condition, which means being capable of undertaking a voyage.

The following criteria are used to assess your vessel’s visual suitability for a mooring:

  • The vessel must be of a style considered by Roads and Maritime to be consistent with the general style of vessels moored in the bay
  • Vessels constructed of materials other than fibreglass, must be painted in colours appropriate to the general amenity of the bay.  Bright or iridescent colours are not acceptable without written approval of Roads and Maritime. Timber vessels may be varnished (or similar) provided that the varnished timbers are kept in good condition.  An exception is made for teak, which should be appropriately maintained (e.g. oiled).

Vessels must be kept in good condition including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The vessel must not show temporary repairs that are visually obvious (patched up) without written approval from Roads and Maritime
  • The vessel must be kept clean and tidy
  • The vessel must be kept free of bird droppings, vermin and insects
  • The vessel must not be used as a repository for refuse, garbage, or 'junk'
  • Painted substances must not be peeling, flaking, crazed or otherwise deteriorated
  • Metal surfaces must be kept free from rust and any other forms of oxidisation
  • Marine growth on the vessel’s hull must be kept to a standard acceptable to Roads and Maritime.

Your vessel will only be deemed to be in a seaworthy condition if it is capable of undertaking a voyage.

The above conditions will not apply if your vessel is the subject of a formal agreement for repair by a business, provided that the repairs commence within 30 days of the vessel first occupying the mooring.

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