Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines

​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, 2015

The Anti-fouling and in-water cleaning guidelines provides best practice approaches to applying, maintaining, removing and disposing of anti-fouling coatings and managing biofouling and invasive aquatic species on vessels and movable structures in Australia and New Zealand. These guidelines are applicable to all vessels and movable structures in Australian aquatic environments (marine, estuarine and freshwater), regardless of whether they have an anti-fouling coating. They are recommended for use by resource managers, owners and operators of vessels and movable structures, operators and customers of maintenance facilities, and contractors providing vessel maintenance services.

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About biofouling

Biofouling occurs when animals and plants attach to the submerged surfaces of a vessel, such as the hull, propeller and anchor. Increased biofouling affects the performance of vessels and moveable structures and can lead to the spread of invasive aquatic species. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources works closely with its stakeholders to help minimise the biosecurity risk posed by biofouling.

Accidentally releasing marine pests during the application, maintenance and removal of anti-fouling coatings and during in-water cleaning operations can contaminate marine waters. This facilitates the spread of invasive aquatic species that threaten human health, the economy and the aquatic environment.

Self-assessment and further assistance

Learn more about your obligations in relation to Australia’s marine environment and biodiversity under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) on the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy website.

If the EPBC Act does not apply to your vessel, check some general recommendations about in-water cleaning in Commonwealth waters and use the decision support tool in Appendix 1 of the guidelines to self-assess your activity.

For further advice or to obtain permission to clean your vessel in Commonwealth waters, please contact the relevant Commonwealth department:

For further advice or to obtain permission to clean your vessel in state or territory waters, please contact the relevant state or territory authority:

New South Wales
Email: Port Authority of New South Wales

Northern Territory
Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries
Email Aquatic Biosecurity
Phone +61 0413 381 094l

Queensland
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Email Biosecurity Queensland
Phone 13 25 23
Email Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
Phone 13 74 68

South Australia
Primary Industries and Regions SA
Email Biosecurity
Phone (08) 8207 7900
Email Environment Protection Authority SA
Phone (08) 8204 2004 or 1800 623 445

Tasmania
Email Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment – Biosecurity Tasmania
Phone (03) 6165 3777 or 1800 084 881

Victoria
Email Environmental Protection Authority Victoria
Phone 1300 372 842

Contact the relevant harbour master/port authority for cleaning in declared port areas.

Western Australia
Email Department of Fisheries – Biosecurity Branch
Phone (08) 9482 7333

Also, contact the relevant harbour master/port authority for cleaning in declared port areas and other relevant authorities for advice on contaminant release or discharges.

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