HIRS boat operators may be hired (advance booking required) or visitors who meet Australian Maritime Safety Authority and UQ requirements may operate the vessels themselves.

HIRS boating staff are available for assistance from 8 am to 4 pm. If you require their assistance outside those hours, advance arrangements are required and charges will apply. 

Boat operators must hold:

  1. an Australian Recreational Ship Masters Licence or Uniform Shipping Laws Code (USLC) certificate of competency appropriate for the vessel in use and the area of operations (includes licences issued by other safety authorities within the Commonwealth of Australia or other entities recognised by Maritime Safety Queensland), and
  2. current First Aid, CPR and Oxygen Provision certifications, and
  3. a Marine Radio Operators (VHF) Certificate of Proficiency, and
  4. complete a HIRS boating induction and be familiar with the vessel’s safety management system and UQ Procedures for Off-Campus Work, Boating, Diving and Snorkelling.

Operators should have a good working knowledge of local conditions. Risk assessments for the work being conducted from the vessel must be completed and approved by the user's supervisor. In addition to the ships log, the HIRS Vessel Safety Induction Form (provided at the Station) must be completed for each day of vessel use and submitted prior to departure.

All forms (e.g. crew and vessel induction records, vessel logbook, emergency procedures practice) relevant to the operation of the ship must be completed for each day of vessel use and submitted prior to departure.  See section 9 of the UQ Boating Safety Procedures or the relevant vessel safety management system for more detail.

NOTE: Use of vessels other than for genuine research or educational purpose requires the master to hold a "Coxswain's Certificate of Competency" with an appropriate area of operations endorsement or higher qualification.


Vessel name and description Image


a 6.5m rigid inflatable with two 115hp motors, capable of carrying 6 special personnel and 1 crew.

an image of the vessel Ranina in the water

Anthias and Chromis

are 5.9m rigid inflatables, each with two 115hp motors, capable of carrying 12 special personnel plus 4 crew. Tutors or staff may act as crew.

An image of the boat Chromis


has an offset centre console and is powered by two 60hp motors. At 5.95m she can carry 5 special personnel and 1 crew.

An image of the boat Nerita

Fitzroy and Polmaise 

are 5.8m centre consoles with a single 60hp motor. They each carry 5 special personnel and 1 crew.

An image of the boat Fitzroy


is a 4.3m aluminium dinghy with a 25hp motor. She can carry 5 special personnel and 1 crew.

An image of the boat Boult

SCUBA Diving and Snorkeling

SCUBA diving and snorkeling activities must be conducted in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act (QLD) 2011.  UQ visitors must follow the UQ Diving Procedures and Snorkelling Procedures as relevant.  Other visitors may follow UQ procedures, or opt to follow their institution’s diving procedures where the UQ can confirm compliance with the Work Health and Safety Act.  Section 2 of the UQ Diving Guidelines and Section 2 of the UQ Snorkelling Guidelines provide more information of how an institution can demonstrate compliance to UQ. Forms required for snorkeling and SCUBA diving at HIRS are located in the Policy and Procedures library under the Forms tab.

All UQ visitors seeking to engage in snorkel/diving activities under the auspices of the University should contact the UQ Boating and Diving Officer ( before commencing fieldwork. Non-UQ visitors should contact the HIRS Boating and Diving Officer (

Diving work requires the following key controls:

  • annual medical screening of all divers against fitness criteria given in AS 2299.1 Occupational Diving Operations Part 1: Standard Operation Practice,
  • minimum competency standards for all divers,
  • supervision of diving work by a competent diver,
  • adequate resourcing of diving work,
  • written dive plans and risk assessments,
  • first aid personnel and equipment onsite including oxygen resuscitation equipment,
  • effective emergency procedures including evacuation to a recompression chamber,
  • breathing apparatus and equipment preventative maintenance schedules including checks of gauge accuracy, and
  • breathing gas testing.

Refer to the UQ Diving Procedures and Guidelines for further details.

Snorkelling in a workplace requires the following key controls:

  • Screening of all persons for fitness and medical condition advice.
  • Minimum competency levels of persons undertaking the activity.
  • Minimum supervision levels for the proposed activity.
  • Assessment of work tasks for snorkelling or breath-hold diving.
  • Access to first aid personnel and equipment, including oxygen resuscitation equipment.
  • Ensuring verification of returned snorkellers or breath-hold divers at the end of the activity.
  • The implementation of effective emergency procedures for the activity.

Refer to the UQ Snorkelling Procedures and Guidelines for further details.

Education Groups Please Note: you must have sufficient staff who are competent in the water to be responsible for the in-water supervision of your students.

Equipment Hire

The Station has SCUBA and Snorkeling equipment, Air and Nitrox for hire.

  • wetsuits
  • BCDs
  • regulators
  • fins
  • mask & snorkels

Please see the Tariffs page for boating and diving charges. The Boating and Diving Application is part of the general Booking Form located on the Booking page.


There are two daily tide cycles with a maximum range of approximately 3 metres. Subtract 31 minutes from Gladstone tide times for Heron Island.