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.


  • Generally, the pilot ladder will be rigged on the port side two meters above the water for arrivals when there is a wind not exceeding 10-15 knots from a northerly direction.
  • If the freeboard is less than 9 meters, then a standard IMO/IMPA recommended pilot boarding ladder is to be rigged with the bottom rung at 1.5 meters above the water for in bound vessels and at 2 meters for outbound vessels.
    Manropes are to be at exactly the same length as the ladder. (avoiding the ropes being jammed between the boat and the ship).
    All equipment is must be clean, and in sound order and condition.
  • If the freeboard is in excess of 9 meters then an approved "combination" ladder must be provided.
    The lower platform of the "combination" should not be less than 5 meters above sea level to prevent the pilot boat from striking the metal parts in prevailing conditions.

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.

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

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