Activity restrictions

Domesticated animals

Domesticated animals (dogs) are allowed within the Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park, but must be on a leash at all times.

Domesticated animals are not allowed on, or in waters that are reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 or beaches directly seaward of such reserves.

Motorised vehicles

Vehicles are permitted on marine park beaches to launch and retrieve vessels from designated boat launching facilities, or other beaches subject to Local Government and National Parks and Wildlife Service requirements.

Anchoring and mooring

Anchoring is generally allowed in the Marine Park with the following exceptions:

  • Within seagrass beds in sanctuary zones. Vessel operators must ensure that no part of the anchor, chain, rope or vessel makes contact with a seagrass bed in sanctuary zones;
  • In Broughton Island and Sawtooth Rocks habitat protection zones anchoring is not permitted while fishing.  These areas have been identified as Grey Nurse shark habitats and by not anchoring, you avoid disturbing the sharks and their habitat;

Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park and Roads and Maritime Services provide a number of courtesy moorings.

Private moorings are individually licensed to vessel owners and it is illegal to tie up to a private mooring that isn't yours.

See the Marine Parks Mooring and Anchoring Policy for more information.

Speed restrictions

Two 4-knot speed areas in the sanctuary zones are at:

  • Middle Grounds (part of the Fly Point–Corrie Island sanctuary zone);
  • Jimmys Beach (the entirety of the Jimmys Beach sanctuary zone).

These locations are identified as important resting and feeding areas for the resident bottlenose dolphin population.

Sea-planes, hovercraft and airboats

A marine park permit is required to operate a seaplane, hovercraft or airboat on the marine park's waters.

Motorised water-sports

Motorised water-sports are not allowed in sanctuary zones except for:

  • Smiths Lake sanctuary zone;
  • Boolambayte Lake sanctuary zone;
  • or via a marine park permit in the Fly Point–Corrie Island sanctuary zone.

Motorised water sport means:

  • irregular driving eg driving in a circular pattern, weaving;
  • towing a water skier or aquaplaner with a motorised vessel (aquaplaner means a person who is being conveyed on, in or above waters by maintaining themselves on flotation or aerial equipment).

Personal watercraft

Personal watercraft (including jet skis) are not permitted within 200 m of the shore in the Dutchmans Beach habitat protection zone.


Collection of marine plants and animals in the marine park is subject to the following regulations:

  • collecting is not permitted in sanctuary zones or at Little Beach, Dutchmans Beach and Cabbage Tree Island habitat protection zones;
  • commercial collection for the aquarium trade is prohibited in the Marine Park;
  • recreational collecting for aquarium specimens is allowed subject to possession of a marine parks permit;
  • collecting marine plants and animals for scientific or educational purposes is allowed in general use and habitat protection zones subject to possession of a marine park permit.

Fish cleaning

Fish or fishing gear cannot be cleaned in a sanctuary zone.

Artificial reefs

Please see the policy on Artificial reefs and fish attracting devices in NSW Marine Parks for more information.

Other management actions