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Pelican Waters QLD - Boating and Fishing
Pollution

Whether your boat is large or small, it is an offence to deliberately discharge pollutants into Queensland coastal waters.

Litter

Everyday items such as cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, cans and discarded fishing gear are common causes of marine pollution. These objects, whether discarded intentionally or simply blown overboard, contribute to increasing pressures on marine ecosystems.

Marine animals and sea birds can mistake plastic material for food and often end up dying a slow and painful death from starvation or strangulation.

Simple measures can help protect marine wildlife and save you the embarrassment and cost of a fine.
  • Don’t throw anything overboard.
  • Have secure bins or garbage bags to store garbage onboard until you return to shore.
  • Use crockery or re-useable plates and cutlery.
  • Make the effort to retrieve lost or damaged fishing gear.
  • If garbage does end up in the water, take the time to pick it up.
  • Don’t abandon crab pots, as floats and lines can entangle wildlife and foul boat propellers.
Vessels 12 metres and over
All vessels measuring 12 metres or more are required by law to display this adhesive placard. Fines of up to $85,000 apply.

Paint scrapings
Harmful chemicals and compounds found in paint scrapings and wood preservatives are found to have long-term effects on numerous plant and animal species. By simply picking up your paint scrapings and mopping up any paint spills, you are doing your bit to help protect our waterways for the future.

Oils and chemicals

Most oil and chemical pollution results from activities such as refueling, boat maintenance and bilge discharges.

Oils including petrol, hydraulic oil and gear box oil and chemicals such as de greasers and paints contain a range of toxins harmful to both marine animals and humans.

Boat operators need to help reduce oil and chemicals entering our waterways.
  • Do not overfill your tank.
  • Watch the breathers for signs of “blow-back” or overflow.
  • Ensure your bilges are clean before discharging them.
  • Use phosphate free biodegradable detergents.
  • Carry absorbent material onboard to clean up any accidental spills.
  • Repair oil and fuel leaks when first noticed. If you accidentally spill oil or chemicals into the water, or see a spill, do your bit for the marine environment and contact your local Harbour Master, Marina Manager or Port Authority, so it can be contained and cleaned up as soon as possible.
Sewage
The discharge of sewage into the marine environment poses serious health and environmental issues.

Pathogens such as viruses, parasites and bacteria found in sewage can potentially be passed on to other waterways users whilst swimming, surfing or diving or by consuming contaminated shellfish such as mussels and oysters.

Given the right conditions excess nutrients entering the water from sewage discharges can also lead to algal blooms. As blooms die off and decompose, they release toxins and deplete the oxygen in the surrounding water.

Untreated sewage
To reduce the impacts associated with vessel sourced sewage, Maritime Safety Queensland imposes restrictions on the locations where different types of sewage can be discharged.

Sewage is categorised as either treated or untreated.
Untreated sewage is sewage that has not passed through an on-board treatment system. Untreated sewage must pass through a macerator before being discharged, in order to assist with dispersion and improve visual amenity for all waterways
users.

Macerated sewage is not classed as Treated Sewage. 
Macerated sewage is untreated sewage.

Untreated sewage is prohibited from being discharged in the following areas:
  • Prohibited discharge waters — canals, marinas, boat harbours and designated areas of state marine parks.
  • Smooth waters.
  • Hervey Bay and Northern Moreton Bay waters – within 1852m (1 nM) of reefs, aqua culture fisheries resources, the mean low water mark of the mainland, and the low water mark of an island if a vessel has 16 or more people on board.
  • Open waters – within 926m (1/2 nM) of a wharf or jetty other than a jetty that is a marina; or within 1852m (1 nM) of:
  • aqua culture fisheries resources
  • if a vessel has 16 or more people on board: a reef, or the mean low water mark of an island or the mainland.
Note: On 1 January 2010, if you have 16 or more persons on board, the discharge of untreated sewage will not be permitted in any Queensland coastal waterway.
Please refer to Maritime Safety Queensland’s website for up to date requirements. www.msq.qld.gov.au

Treated sewage
Treated sewage is sewage that has passed through an on-board treatment system and is categorised as either A, B or C depending on the level of treatment it has received.

Treated sewage can be discharged subject to the following restrictions:
Grade A treated sewage (highest treatment) No restrictions other than Prohibited Discharge Waters such as canals, marinas, boat harbours and designated areas of state marine parks.

Grade B treated sewage (moderate treatment) Nil discharge in Hervey Bay waters, Northern Moreton Bay waters, open waters and smooth waters within 700m of the following:

  • a person in the water
  • aqua culture fisheries resource
  • a reef.
Grade C treated sewage (lowest treatment) Nil discharge in Hervey Bay waters, Northern Moreton Bay waters, open waters and smooth waters within 926m (1/2 nM) of the following:
  • a person in the water
  • aqua culture fisheries resource
  • a reef.
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