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ex HMAS Canberra Dive Site Guidelines
All divers wishing to access the ex HMAS Canberra site must hold a current and industry recognised entry level qualification (equivalent to Australian Standard AS4005.1), as a minimum level of certification. The site is not suitable for inexperienced divers unless accompanied by a suitably qualified guide. Ultimately it is your responsibility to be satisfied that you are appropriately trained, certified and experienced in Victorian conditions to undertake the planned dive.
Diving with Charter Operators and Dive Shops
Each operator may have their own unique requirements about the dive certifications and experience they expect you to have in order for them to allow you to do penetration dives. Please ask them about this when making your booking.
Private Boat Bookings and Permits
A dive booking and permit is required from Parks Victoria for all independent recreational dives from private boats on the ex HMAS Canberra.
A permit costs $30 per vessel.
Permits are available each day in two hour time shots from 4 a.m. till 10 p.m., and a 6 hour time slot from 10 p.m. till 4 a.m.
The permit allows use of Mooring Number 4 only. (Mooring numbers 1–3 are reserved for licensed tour operators.) You will not need a permit if you book your dive through a licensed tour operator.
Private boat permit bookings can be made online 24x7 via the Parks Victoria web site at www.parkstay.vic.gov.au/pages/exhmas-canberra-dive-permits.
For diagrams of the dive site, please see:
- ex HMAS Canberra Dive Site Map (Adobe PDF | 1.48 MB)
- ex HMAS Canberra Scuttling Survey (Adobe PDF | 4.8 MB)
See the Parks Victoria — ex-HMAS Canberra Dive Site web page for more information.
Parks Victoria has put in place a four buoy mooring system to make diving the ex HMAS Canberra Reef easier and safer. Commercial operators use moorings 1 to 3, and there is a recreational (public) only mooring. See ex HMAS Canberra Dive Site Moorings Diagram (Adobe PDF | 1.39 MB)
Many private dive boat owners may not be familiar with approaching, using, and departing moorings at dive sites. Things you should keep in mind include:
- Before approaching the diving area, try to communicate with any vessels already there, ideally by radio, or by giving the OK signal. They should tell you how many divers are down, approximately where they are, and where they are expected to surface.
- ex HMAS Canberra Reef dive moorings are likely to be popular at certain times. Be prepared to wait until your allotted time slot. Agree a plan of action with any other dive boats present.
- Approach the site at reduced speed (less than 5 knots), especially if there are other vessels already at the site.
- At all times, only motor at very low speeds in the vicinity of the dive site.
- There is a No Boating Zone above the dive site, located within the area defined by the navigation marker buoys and mooring buoys surrounding the dive site.
- Do not motor unnecessarily or patrol the area, it adds to the danger.
- Maintain a constant vigilance for divers in the water and the potential for divers ascending from the site while underway. It is possible some divers will be using rebreathers and will not be easy to locate due to lack of bubbles.
- Never go near divers' bubbles with your engine in gear.
- Position yourself as far as possible from other divers.
- Never drop your anchor or shot line within 100 metres of the dive site.
- Never let an inexperienced person take charge of the boat anywhere near the dive site.
- While moored, a person with a Victorian Boat Licence must be in the boat at all times.
- Use any permanent entry (descent) lines and exit (ascent) lines that may be available.
- Before engaging your engine, check for bubbles. Look all around your boat including the stern.
- Never manoeuvre at more than tick-over until you are a considerable distance from the dive site. Divers may come up away from the site, especially down tide.
Plan the dive and dive the plan!