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Darwin Harbour Shipping Channels

Large ships move in and out of Darwin Harbour via the shipping channels during all hours of the day and night.

Ships are not necessarily constrained to the channels and sometimes travel outside them.

A BLIND SPOT can extend for many hundreds of metres in front of large ships (even up to one kilometre for some vessels) and large ships cannot alter course quickly and cannot stop quickly.

Large ships may not be able to deviate from their course and small sailing craft should be prepared to avoid these large vessels and make it clear that they are avoiding them.

It is the responsibility of recreational boaties in Darwin Harbour to:

Keep clear of ships at all times

  • Never anchor in shipping channels or in a way that obstructs others
  • Never obstruct the path of ships or assume a ship can see you
  • Never tie up to navigation aids such as buoys or channel markers

Mariners and Darwin Harbour users are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Harbourmaster’s Direction relating to the recent designation of commercial shipping channels and their location. 

The Harbourmaster's Direction can be read here: