Shipping Information

On this page:

Geraldton Vessel Traffic Information

Ship Vetting



Declared Depths

Pilot Boarding Ground

Environmental Limits for Pilot Transfer

Swell Warning

Berthing Priority

Shipping Movements


Tidal Data

Navigation Aids

Dynamic under Keel Clearance

Guidelines for Pilot Exemptions - Port of Geraldton

Customs and Quarantine (Australian Border Force, and Department of Agriculture and Water Resources)

Geraldton Vessel Traffic Information

Geraldton Port operates a Marine Traffic Service to the VTS standard of an Information Service for the gazetted port waters and approaches.

The VTI service has active coverage on VHF Ch 11 between 0700 and 1700 Monday to Friday. Outside of these “normal” hours active service is available one hour prior to scheduled vessel movements.

Vessel anchorage positions are marked on chart AUS81 and the ship scheduler provides written advice, pertaining to assigned anchorages and scheduled shipping movements, to all agents Monday to Friday with the duty pilots providing updates over the weekends.

Each afternoon vessels are contacted by VHF on Ch 11, and notified of any overnight or weekend movements. In addition Pilots have access outside of working hours to AIS and can act if incorrect anchorages are occupied. Advice is also provided to all ships regarding impending strong winds or heavy swell.

All shipping movements in port waters are controlled by and subject to the directions of the Harbour Master. The Harbour Master can give general or specific directions and permits or approvals via Geraldton Harbour VHF Ch 11 and 16.

All vessels are required to submit an “Application for Berth” to the Mid West Ports Authority a minimum of four days prior to arrival and must comply with the requirements of Geraldton Harbour Control and the Harbour Master.

Activities undertaken by Geraldton VTI:

  1. To collect and monitor information on vessel traffic movements within the port waters area.
  2. To receive information from appropriate sources reasonably available on predicted vessel movements, hazards to navigation, discrepancies in aids to navigation and any other information which is likely to be of relevance to port users.
  3. To provide pertinent information to port users on request
  4. To ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that the quantity and quality of the information provided to ports users is appropriate to assisting vessels in their shipboard navigational decision making.

Vessels are expected to:

  1. Report to Geraldton Harbour on Marine VHF channel 11 or 16 one hour prior to arrival at the pilot boarding ground.
  2. Remain clear of a navigation channel until the Pilot has boarded unless the ship is Pilot exempt or advised by Geraldton Harbour
  3. Not proceed to the pilot boarding ground unless advised to by the Pilot or Geraldton Harbour
  4. Only anchor in designated anchorage areas unless permission is given to use an alternate anchor position by the Pilot or Geraldton Harbour
  5. Once anchored, report the time and position of anchoring to Geraldton Harbour, if necessary by waiting until normal hours to report
  6. Monitor Marine VHF Channels 11 and 16 while underway and at anchor
  7. Report to Geraldton Harbour any discrepancies in aids to navigation or hazards to navigation that may be observed by the vessel while in port waters
  8. Report to Geraldton Harbour any deficiencies that develop on board after the vessel has entered port waters
  9. Comply with relevant International, Commonwealth and State legislation and regulations

Shipping Arrival Information Sheet

Pilotage is compulsory for vessels over 35 meters LOA.

Ship Vetting

Ship Vetting Procedure



Call "Geraldton Harbour". Manned Monday to Friday 0800 - 1700 hours and one hour prior to arrival and departure of vessels.

Call on Channel 16 - Working Channel 11

Contact: Duty Pilot
Phone (24 Hours): (08) 9964 0505



  • AUS81 Approaches to Geraldton (this chart or an IMO approved ECDIS is compulsory for Pilotage)
  • WA939 Geraldton and Geraldton Harbour
  • AUS751 Houtman Abrolhos and Geelvink Channel
  • AUS332 Zuytdorp Point to Geraldton

Declared Depths

For information regarding the latest declared depths refer to Local Marine Notices.

Pilot Boarding Ground

Main Entrance (boarding ground 'Alpha') - Pilot boards in a position one mile West of the Southern Fairway Buoy which is at Latitude: 28º46.5'S Longitude: 114º30.5'E Channel depth 12.4 m over LAT.

Northern Entrance (boarding ground 'Bravo') - Pilots boards in a position two miles West of of the Northern Fairway Buoy: Latitude: 28º41.8'S Longitude: 114º30.5'E Channel depth 9.1 m over LAT.

Environmental Limits for Pilot Transfer

Offshore wind to be less than 30 k

Total wave conditions to be less than 3 m

Sea state to be less than 2 m by day and 1.5 m by night.

Swell Warning

At times swells of 9 meters have been reported in the outer approaches of the Channel and vessels are not to enter until advised by Geraldton Harbour or a Pilot.

Berthing Priority

The Berthing Priority Code establishes the procedure for determining the order of access to the berth. It is essentially a first come first served system based on tern of arrival with MWPA reserving the right to overrule that order if need be in the interests of wider port efficiency.

There are however certain circumstances where ships will be permitted to "Register" and then return at a later date provided the return is before the ships turn occurs.

Shipping Movements

MWPA Shipping Scheduler books all services (tugs / pilots / moorers) for inbound and outbound shipping movements no later than 1500 hrs the day prior to the expected movement.

Planned movements are able to be viewed on the Mid West Ports Authority website under 'Arrivals', 'Daily Port Requirements'. While changes to times, or cancellations can be made if greater than two hours notice is given, the addition of movements cannot be guaranteed.

Harbour Master, via MWPA Shipping Scheduler, ( to be advised of shipping movements as follows:

  • ETA - 48 hours, 24 hours, and 6 hours before arrival.
  • ETD - 12 hours before; to be confirmed 4 hours before.

If stay is less than 12 hours - ETD to be advised 1 hour after arrival; to be confirmed 2 hours before departure.

Movements in Harbour - as for departures. Charges may apply if less than 2 hours notice of changes is given.


Arriving Vessels awaiting pilotage will be allocated an anchorage position that will be advised by their shipping agent.

Masters are cautioned that Geraldton anchorages are 'Moderate Holding Ground' on hard sand bottom and in certain extreme weather conditions it may be prudent to heave up the anchor and not rely on ground tackle to keep the ship safe off a lee shore.

Tidal Data

  • Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) - 1.2 Meters
  • Mean sea level (MSL) - 0.57 Meters
  • Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT) - 0.0 Meters

Normal Bulk Cargo Vessels capable of using the port

  • Handysize - 10,000 to 35,000 tones cargo, 100 to 182m LOA
  • Handymax - 35,000 to 50,000 tones cargo, 180 to 210m LOA
  • Panamax - 50,000 to 70,000 tones cargo, 210 to 225m LOA

Note: All vessels are subject to Port State Control records being checked.

Vessels longer than 225m are subject to a specific application and are not normally accepted

Ship Vetting Procedure

Normal Bulk Cargo Vessels capable of being fully loaded at the port - see DUKC below

  • All Handysize and smaller
  • Most Handymax
  • Some Panamax (load approximately 60,000 to 65,000 tones of cargo - depending on sea state, individual vessel design and configuration)

Navigation Aids

The navigation aids required at the Port are installed and fully operational for day and night time operations.

Dynamic under Keel Clearance

Vessels with a draft exceeding 10 m will be subject to assessment of draft through the DUKC program. This system will calculate the maximum draft dependant on tide and swell conditions. Swells exceeding 2.5 m or a 15 s period may limit available draft. All parties are cautioned against making unrealistic commercial commitments that may prove imposable to keep in certain weather conditions.

It is most important to understand that swell is the greatest issue affecting drafts and that even quite small swells can cause some ships to roll heavily as they clear the breakwater. Larger longer period swells can cause ships to fall between troughs at the channel entrance. Both scenarios reduce under keel clearance.

The DUKC system is designed to provide certainty with regard to sailing drafts and as such is conservative when based on forecast weather inputs. This is to avoid the risk of ships being unable to sail if loaded too deep.

As sailing times draw closer DUKC changes over from forecasts to measured tide and swell and becomes progressively more accurate, generally offering deeper drafts.

MWPA recommends that parties seeking to maximise departure drafts plan to complete cargo 1.5 hours prior to sailing, if necessary returning with loading labour to complete the final two or three thousand tons.

Guidelines for Pilot Exemptions - Port of Geraldton

View Guidelines for Pilot Exemptions - Port of Geraldton

Federal Agencies

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR)

Biosecurity Reporting Obligations

Pre-arrival information, and changes, for maritime conveyances (vessels) must be reported in a form approved by the Director of Biosecurity, which is MARS. 

Vessel Operator Responsibilities

The operator of the vessel is obligated to accurately report information in accordance with Section 193 of the Biosecurity Act 2015. This information must be lodged in MARS no later than 12 hours prior to arrival.

Any changes in circumstances during the voyage in Australian waters must be reported to the department as soon as practicable. 

There are a range of support tools available to help you use MARS and comply with Australia’s biosecurity requirements. See the MARS Communications and Training Materials webpage for user guides, Quick Reference Guides, FAQs, checklists and brochures. 

  • Locally based biosecurity officers are the key contacts at each of the port locations.
  • Support is also being provided by the Maritime National Coordination Centre (MNCC): 1300 004 605 within Australia or +61 8 8201 6185 outside Australia. The Department’s Maritime National Coordination Ce​ntre (MNCC’s) operating hours are between 0600-2100 (ACST).

Biosecurity Concerns

Risks associated with international vessels may include rabies, foot and mouth disease, or avian flu which could be introduced by infected animals or in food purchased overseas or from trading with overseas vessels. International vessels can bring in unwanted pests and disease through avenues such as:

  • Human health disease concerns from crew and passengers.
  • Exotic insects on the deck or marine pests on the hull (biofouling) or in ballast water.
  • Galleys could have stored product pests or diseased fruit and vegetables.
  • Waste from the vessel (that is dry stores, cooked and uncooked meat, vegetable scraps and eggs) if not stored securely, can become a breeding ground for exotic pests and diseases.
  • Souvenirs with plant and animal content could contain exotic insects.
  • Plants and items with feathers and seeds that can carry disease organisms or plant pests.
  • Animals including ships pets, hitch hikers or imported animals carrying disease.

Australian Border Force Requirements (ABF)


The Australian Border Force requires all overseas vessels to provide full details of the vessel, crew, passengers, animals and cargo at least 96 hours prior to arrival.

Non compliance can result in a penalty under section 64 of the Customs Act. Australian Border Force will normally attend a vessel after berthing, however, this is at the discretion of the District Commander. The definition of "overseas vessels" includes small craft as well as private and commercial vessels.

Requests for Attendance

In the case of commercial vessels, all contact should be through the shipping agent in the first instance. Small craft and private vessels should contact the District Commander directly.

Customs House

Street Address:  7 Francis Street, Geraldton (across the road from the Mid West Ports Authority)
Postal Address: PO Box 169, Geraldton WA 6531
Phone: +61 8 9965 7200
Fax: +61 8 9965 7250

Border Watch

When reporting any unusual sighting that may be of interest to Australian Border Force, please call the 24 hour Border Watch free phone on 1800 06 1800.


For information regarding overseas passengers and crew complying with Australian immigration legislation.