Snorkelling and diving
Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland
Marine parks in Queensland are great places to snorkel and dive. However in a few places, you'll need a marine park permit. Check the zoning plan for that area before you go. Be careful when diving and snorkelling around coral for your own safety and to protect the reef.
In Australia, the minimum requirement for a recreational diver is a current, open water SCUBA diving certificate issued by a recognised, accredited diving organisation such as PADI or NAUI. If you haven't dived for some time, take a refresher dive with a Dive Master or local dive school before you visit the Reef. Before snorkelling, take lessons from an experienced person such as a qualified SCUBA diving instructor. Practise in safe, shallow water before visiting the Reef. Be aware of strong currents around the islands. Stay away from areas where boats operate. The best idea is to look but don't touch. Some marine organisms can deliver painful and dangerous stings.
Spearfishing while using scuba gear is prohibited. If spearfishing while using snorkel gear, please be very cautious near other people. Remember: you must check the zoning plan to see where spearfishing is allowed. Spearguns are not allowed on a national park without written authority unless dismantled and securely stored in a boat or vehicle.
The majority of divers and snorkellers cause little noticeable damage to corals. Damage occurs most commonly from fins. If you are inexperienced, try to practise snorkelling away from living coral. Be aware of where your fins are and avoid touching anything with them. Don't rest or stand on coral. If you must stand up, make sure it is on sand, or use rest stations.
Last berth in Sydney. Photo Copyright Qld Govt
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, will spend the next two years preparing to scuttle ex-HMAS Tobruk (L50) to create an artificial reef and world-class dive site.
Launched on 1 March 1980, by Lady Anna Cowan, the ex-HMAS Tobruk (L50) was the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)’s first purpose-built amphibious vessel.
She was decommissioned on 31 July 2015 and towed to Bundaberg Port in December 2016 to begin preparations for scuttling.
The ex-HMAS Tobruk’s final resting place will be selected carefully by QPWS. Current boating activities and anchoring won’t be compromised. The site will not be open to fishing, leaving it as a clean dive site, to avoid the risk of getting caught in fishing trash.
While all machinery, ammunition and hazardous substances have been removed from the vessel in Sydney’s Garden Island docks, QPWS will oversee the final preparations to create a safe and clean dive infrastructure. This can take up to two years to ensure the vessel and site are safe for divers and the environment.
Once the ship is scuttled, the vessel will settle up to a metre into the sandy ocean bottom. Marine life will quickly attach to the metal surfaces, and embryonic corals will cover most of the structure. Sub-tropical fish will use the ship’s nooks and crannies as their new habitat. New coral colonies will provide a home for reef animals, such as fish, sponges, worms, starfish and molluscs. These corals will eventually build a reef as they grow, die and cement.
Holes cut into the hull before scuttling will allow safe, easy access for divers, and allow light into the lower decks. Divers will be able to experience rich sea life native to our vibrant reefs.
While ex-HMAS Tobruk is in Bundaberg Port, she is berthed at a Gladstone Port Corporation restricted access area. Viewing is possible from a safe distance at her first dock. No public access onto the ship is permitted. Cleaning operations will occur at another designated area at the port, and the community will be able to watch those operations too.
Once the ship has been scuttled, the dive site will be open for a limited number of licences and permits with safety guidelines in place. Dive party numbers will be restricted to maintain the quality of the site and to enhance the diving experience.