Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve


Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve includes the southern part of the Kurnell peninsula, incorporating the whole of Merries Reef and extending east to three green 'Water Board' vents at Potter Point. The seaward boundary is 100 m from the mean low water mark. It covers an area of approximately 70 hectares.


  • conserve the biodiversity of fish and marine vegetation
  • protect fish habitat
  • facilitate educational activities
  • facilitate scientific research.


Boat Harbour is relatively isolated location. The reserve encompasses the whole of Pimweli Rocks and Merries Reef. It contains a sandstone shore and other important marine habitats including boulder and subtidal reefs interspersed with areas of sandy seabed.

The rocky shore provides a feeding ground for a number of shorebirds, including threatened species such as sooty oystercatchers and migratory waders.

What can I do in the Aquatic Reserve?

You can enjoy all sorts of marine activities such as fishing, snorkelling and it's a great place to look in the rock pools along the intertidal reef. You can line fish, spearfish and collect blacklip abalone (Haliotis rubra rubra), rock lobster (eastern rock lobster Sagmariasus verreauxi and southern rock lobster Jasus edwardsii), sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) and bait weed (Enteromorpha intestinalis), subject to other NSW fishing rules and regulations.

In this reserve it is prohibited to collect cunjevoi or any marine invertebrates except abalone and rock lobster. For example you cannot collect: anemones, barnacles, chitons, cockles, crabs, mussels, octopus, oysters, pipis, sea urchins, starfish, snails and worms, whether they are dead or alive. Empty shells cannot be collected in the reserve because they provide homes for living organisms. Marine vegetation cannot be collected except for sea lettuce and bait weed.

Please report illegal or suspect fishing activities to your nearest Fisheries Office or use the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.

Explore the Aquatic Reserve

Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve

Boat Harbour is a sheltered bay with crystal blue waters. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve

Sooty oystercatchers (Haematopus fuliginosus) forage amongst the diversely populated rock platform. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve

The complex rocky intertidal area provides many homes in the cracks and crevices and amongst boulders. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve

Rocky cliffs line the northern edge of the reserve. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve

The reserve is backed by Kamay Botany Bay National Park and faces south towards Cronulla. Photo: Renata Pronk.

Getting there

You can get to the reserve through the private Boat Harbour 4WD Park off Captain Cook Drive (fee applies) or from the end of Sir Joseph Banks Drive.

Further information

Please contact us at