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Entering Australia

Australia has stringent rules, regulations and procedures for the arrival and ongoing operation of superyachts whilst in Australian waters.

Large motor or sailing vessels (superyachts) of over 24 metres in length, whether for private use or commercial recreational or sporting activities, are subject to customs, immigration and biosecurity controls when entering and/or departing Australia. 

Click the options below for an introduction on these processes outlining key information accompanied with relevant links to both federal and state government departments to ensure most up-to-date information is available at all times.

Superyachts can elect to arrive in Australia at either appointed or non-appointed ports of entry. Refer further below for entry details.  

 

CLEARANCE OPTIONS FOR SUPERYACHTS ENTERING AND REMAINING IN AUSTRALIA:

ABOUT IMMIGRATION & QUARANTINE / BIOSECURITY CONTROLS

Australian immigration procedures are undertaken by the Australian Border Force (ABF) who manage the pre-arrival and arrival procedures for vessels entering Australian waters.

Use the link below to access all detailed information on this process.

https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/entering-and-leaving-by-sea

Biosecurity checks are managed by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Option 1: All personal food, plant and animal items will be declared on your Incoming Passenger Card for a private vessel (refer further below).

Option 2: All personal food, plant and animal items will be declared through the Maritime Arrivals Reporting System (MARS) for commercial vessels.

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity/avm/vessels

A Biosecurity officer will inspect your galley stores and other biosecurity items to ensure that they do not include prohibited goods or items infested with insects or disease. These could harm Australia’s unique environment or introduce plant, animal or human, pests or diseases. Treatable goods will be treated and returned to you. Prohibited goods will be either confiscated, bonded on the vessel for the duration of your stay, or re-exported at the owner’s expense.

Vessels with an animal subject to biosecurity must remain at a mid-water mooring and keep the animal secure for the duration of your stay in Australia.

If you declare prohibited items, you may be given the option of re-exporting them. If you do not declare items of biosecurity concern, a substantial on-the-spot fine could be imposed, or you could be prosecuted.

For further details on biosecurity issues visit https://www.agriculture.gov.au


ON ARRIVAL

Whether you are a returning resident, migrating to Australia or a visitor, you need to comply with the requested entry requirements.

When you arrive in Australia, you must first call at a Port of Entry (Appointed or Non- Appointed) where the Australian Border Force (Immigration) and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (Biosecurity) checks will be completed.


  • Make sure each person on board has a valid visa and passport
  • You are required by law to notify the Department before you arrive (refer above to before arrival)
  • Clearly display the International ‘Pratique Q-flag’ and travel directly to an appointed or agreed boarding station

On Arrival Option 1:

On Arrival Option 2: 

  • If you are arriving at a Non-Appointed Port of Entry and / or you are planning to operate as a Special Recreation Vessel (SRV) / Commercial Vessel you will have been sent your arrival requirements through the MTPC approval process described above.
  • For any questions, please contact the Maritime Traveller Processing Committeeat mtpc@abf.gov.au

Additional Information for all Arrivals

Australia also has strict laws to protect its citizens and natural environment. Penalties may be imposed if you breach those laws by illegally importing:

  • Drugs
  • Animal or plant material
  • Firearms, weapons or ammunition
  • Protected wildlife and products made from them
  • Some food items
  • Some medicinal products including Performance Enhancing Drugs

Immigration and Biosecurity (Australian Border Force and Department of Agriculture) clearance must be completed before any crew can go ashore.

When you arrive at your planned entry point, please observe the following requirements:

  • Stay on board. No persons other than a Biosecurity or Border Force officer is allowed to board your craft, nor can any person, animal or article leave the craft until you have been given full clearance.
  • Depending on your arrival time, you may be required to remain on board overnight before being cleared the following day.
  • Don’t throw any waste or foodstuffs overboard while you’re in Australian waters or while you are moored. Use designated biosecurity disposal points.
  • Keep all food and animals secure until your vessel has been inspected by Biosecurity officers;
  • Don’t trade foodstuffs with other overseas vessels.
  • Keep your vessel free of insects.

It is an offence to go ashore without prior clearance. Contact with other vessels in port prior to clearance is also prohibited.