Navigation and Pilotage


NOTE: Pilotage is compulsory, except for masters holding current exemptions for the port.

Pilotage is performed by the Port Pilots

Vessels berth and sail at any time Day & Night.
This will be dependent on priority of other vessels, labour availability, and weather conditions.


  • Vessels arriving good weather, if not immediately embarking the pilot, will anchor approximately two miles off the breakwater, but not in line with the main entrance leads.
  • Vessels expecting to conduct hold surveys should have their engines ready to maneuver should they need to make a lee to embark the surveyor.
  • In bad weather, the pilot boarding ground and the vicinity of the Port is not good holding ground.
    Ships should consider this if anchored or preparing to anchor.


  • The Pilot Vessel will contact the inbound ship 30 minutes prior to boarding as it approaches the Port. The pilot will advise of any special requirements for safe boarding.
    Vessels need to be underway 20 minutes prior to the pilot boarding.
  • A speed of 6-8 knots should be maintained together with a good lee on all occasions.
    Due to other traffic movements the Master should ensure that he maintains good sea-room during pilot embarkation.
    During heavy weather boarding, (May-October) it may be necessary for the vessel to steam in a complete circle to enable sufficient lee for the pilot boat to approach.
    The pilotboat will advise accordingly on VHF 12.
  • A heaving line should be provided for the pilot's bag and/ or charts.
    It is recommended to be a weighted line which should be lowered, but never thrown at the boat.

It is a requirement at the Port of Bunbury that Pilot boarding arrangements are in accordance with international regulations, using the arrangement prescribed by IMO / IMPA document “Required Boarding Arrangements for Pilot’. 

The attention of Masters is also drawn to AMSA Marine Order (21/2016 Section 12) and Marine Notice (04/2023) currently in force and to the Tokyo MOU Safety bulletin (Jan 2020).

  • The ladder should be clean with spreaders properly fitted, clear of discharges and out board fittings that may foul the pilot launch. SOLAS V/23.2.3 requires a ladder to be certified by the manufacturer and markings on the ladders set out in ISO 799-1:2019 (Pilot Ladders)
  • Maximum age of pilot ladders is 30 months from date of manufacture, unless the ladder has been subjected to the ladder and step strength test (ISO 799-1:2019) at not more than 30-month intervals.
  • Evidence of this test where conducted, must be sent to the duty pilot for verification purposes.
  • Maximum age of manropes used with pilot ladders is 12 months from date of manufacture. A new manrope must not be cut out from an existing coil onboard that is more than 12 months old.
  • Pilot ladders with side-ropes constructed of ‘sisal’ will not be acceptable.
  • Inbound vessels should have the pilot ladders rigged as follows, (unless expressly specified by the Pilot);
    - Pilot ladder is to be rigged on the port side of the vessel one (1) metre above the waterline.
    - No man ropes are to be rigged.
    - No tripping lines are to be attached to the pilot ladder in any position.
  • If the distance from the waterline exceeds nine (9) metres, a combination ladder is to be used. When an accommodation ladder is used in conjunction with a conventional pilot ladder, the accommodation ladder must be secured to the hull.  The pilot ladder should be secured to the hull approximately 2 metres above the accommodation ladder platform.
  • An officer with radio communication to the bridge should be in attendance at the ladder, along with life saving appliances ready for immediate use.
  • Outbound vessels will generally have a pilot ladder rigged on the starboard side, 2.5 metres above the waterline with two manropes.  The manropes should be clean manila ropes of 28-32mm diameter.  Once clear of the berth, the pilot launch crew will generally advise on the correct height of the ladder and manropes, also checking the securing of these items.
    - No tripping lines are to be attached to the ladder.
    - Life saving appliances should be ready at the ladder for immediate use.

Between Latitudes 33° 16' S and 33° 17'S Longitudes 115° 36' E and 115° 37' E
Holding ground is good, but unprotected in bad weather. In such conditions Masters are advised to remain at a minimum of 5 miles off the coast.

There is No requirement by Port of Bunbury for any Vessel to remain at Anchorage during severe Weather Conditions.

Bunbury Anchorage Locations

UTC + 8 Hours

Australian charts: - 115, 334,335, 755, 756, 4726
Australia Pilot Volume V

Maximum predicted H.W Springs 1.3 m above chart datum
Minimum predicted L.W Springs 0.0 m above chart datum
Heights are subject to atmospheric conditions; up to 0.3 meters either side of predicted height

Outer Harbour:    1024 - 1025
Inner  Harbour:    1023 - 1026

Traditionally, ports operate under fixed rules for under-keel clearance which must be conservative to cover the broad range of conditions a vessel may be exposed to in transiting a channel.

However, with the benefits of the ship modelling package developed by OMC, greater predictability can be achieved to assist decisions as to sailing times and vessel draft so that ships can transit channels with greater safety whilst maximising port efficiency.

Southern Ports Pilot Boarding Arrangements

- Casuarina Point
Latitude 33 19.1 S
Longitude 115 37.8 E
Group flashing (3 - separated by 2.4s) every 15 seconds, visible 19 miles.
Painted a distinctive black and white chequered pattern.
Tower (Steel) Height 27.43 metersfrom ground level
Height of Focal Plane 46 meters

Breakwater Head Beacon- McKenna Point
Latitude 33 18.1 S
Longitude 115 38.6 E
Flashing every 10 seconds, visible 10 miles
The Breakwater Head is Radar conspicuous.

Depth in Approaches 13.4 meters
Depth in Seaward channel 12.8 meters
Depth in Inner Channel 12.2 meters
Depth in Outer Harbour approach 9.6 meters
Channel width to Inner Harbour 135 meters

The base station is "Port of BUNBURY", call sign - VH6HZJ.
OTC Maritime Seagramme Code Address is - `6 UHMBUN BUNBURY'.
Station monitors VHF Channel - 16 (156.8 Mhz).

The station is NOT manned continuously, but a listening watch is usually kept prior to a vessel's expected arrival, except when the Master has previously been advised by agents of pilot boarding time.

Port Security may be available to advise anchorage point designated by the Duty Pilot on VHF Channel - 12

Local private contractors have provision for the removal of oily water and waste.
Ship's Agent can make the necessary arrangements.


Regulation 17 of the Port Authority Regulations states;

"Unless authorised by a member of staff of the port authority, the master of a vessel must not cause or permit any waste water or waste substances of any kind to be discharged from the vessel on to any part of a wharf or into the waters of the port."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) - Marine Notice 17/2008 refers to:

Annex IV - Commencement of Regulations for Existing Ships.

Under the terms of MARPOL, existing ships were given until 27 September 2008 to comply with new requirements regarding prevention of pollution by sewage from ships.

This refers to ships of 400GT and above. Ships are required to be equipped with one of the following sewage systems;

  1. sewage treatment plant that is type approved by an Administration (normally being the vessel’s Classification Society - Australian registered vessels are approved through Class by AMSA) against the standards and test methods developed by the IMO
  2. A sewage comminuting and disinfecting system approved by the Administration, fitted with facilities for the temporary storage of sewage when the ship is less than 3 nautical miles from the nearest land; or Holding tank.
  3. Untreated sewage may only be discharged at a distance of more that 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
  4. Comminuted and disinfected sewage may only be discharged at a distance of more than 3 nautical miles from the land.
  5. Treated sewage discharged from an IMO approved sewage system may be discharged at any location providing the effluent does not produce visible floating solids or cause discolouring of the water.

If a vessel wishes to discharge effluent from an approved certified sewage treatment unit within the Bunbury Port Limits, the vessel must demonstrate that it has an approved and certified sewage treatment unit onboard.

All agents who receive a request from a vessel to discharge effluent as above must request confirmation of the vessel’s International Sewage Pollution Prevention Certificate (ISPPC) details including expiry date, and also the vessel must demonstrate that the equipment onboard has been approved as per item 1 above.

If these provisions can not be demonstrated, the vessel will not be allowed to discharge effluent of any kind and must retain all sewage water onboard until the vessel has departed the port. Alternatively, sewage retained onboard in a holding tank can be collected by an approved and licensed waste contractor whilst the vessel is in port.


 For items concerning the Duty Pilot or Port Authority please address emails to or contact the Duty Pilot on telephone number 08 9729 6527

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