In-water cleaning

Port of Newcastle

Application of the National Antifouling and In-water Cleaning Guidelines in NSW waters


Do you want to clean large vessel hulls and niche area surfaces in-water in NSW port waters? Read on to understand how to engage with NSW relevant agencies in accordance with the Australian Government Anti-fouling and In-water Cleaning Guidelines (the national Guidelines).

The national Guidelines provide best practice and advice for large vessels on how to self-assess and request in-water cleaning activities in Australian States and Territories for cleaning vessel hull and niche areas. The national Guidelines are available at

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) is not a consent agency for approving applications and is not a certifying agency for in-water cleaning technologies. NSW DPI is only responsible for provision of advice regarding marine pest risk associated with in-water cleaning.

The other NSW government agencies with responsibilities for approvals and advice regarding in-water cleaning activities in NSW port waters include the Port Authority of New South Wales (Port Authority), Transport NSW, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA). Applications to clean in-water will usually require consideration by all relevant agencies.

Applicants for in-water cleaning are encouraged to submit their request to clean at least two weeks ahead of time to allow for consideration by all relevant agencies. Further information may be requested at this time.

If intending to clean at a commercial shipping berth at one of the following designated NSW ports, including:

  1. Port of Yamba
  2. Newcastle Harbour
  3. Sydney Harbour
  4. Port Botany
  5. Port Kembla
  6. Port of Eden

the initial request must be made to Port Authority on: (02) 9296 4999.

If intending to clean at any other location in a designated port or any other NSW  waterway, the initial request must be made to NSW Roads and Maritime Services via phone on 13 77 88.

You are encouraged to undertake a self-assessment in-line with Part 2 of the national Guidelines  following the decision support tool included, that you should use to identify risks regarding paint residues or pollution and marine fouling organisms. You should also consider what documented evidence to provide to demonstrate that the proposed cleaning activity can meet both the requirements outlined in the national Guidelines and NSW legislation, policy and for water quality.

The self-assessment should address:

  1. the condition of underwater vessel surfaces and type and level of fouling, including dive reports, photo and video evidence
  2. the type of antifouling coatings and paint ingredients that have been applied to the vessel and evidence of last application
  3. documentation of antifouling certificates and inspection records
  4. documentation on the vessel voyage history since the last clean or application of antifouling coatings
  5. a comprehensive description of the proposed activity and cleaning technique to be applied, including independent expert certification that the activities to mitigate risks posed by pollution and marine pests can meet the requirements of the national Guidelines

If the self-assessment has identified:

  1. microfouling (only a minor slime layer) – this may be removed without debris containment, however cleaning must not interfere with antifouling coatings.
  2. macrofouling (larger fouling organisms such as barnacles etc.) – cleaning must not interfere with antifouling coatings and all debris greater than 50 micrometres in size must be completely captured and disposed of away from the waterway.

Contact us

  • NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for advice on antifouling coatings on (02) 9995 5662
  • Contact NSW DPI Aquatic Biosecurity Risk Management on for advice on marine pest risk on (02) 4982 1232

More information