HIRS boat operators may be hired (advance booking required) or visitors who meet Maritime Safety Queensland 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 UQ Diving Policy and Procedures Manual.

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.

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


Vessel name and description Image


a 6.2m 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 University of Queensland Diving Policy and Procedures Manual (1404KB, pdf). Please familiarise yourself with the manual. Forms required for snorkeling and SCUBA diving at HIRS are located in the manual appendices.

All UQ visitors seeking to engage in snorkel/diving activities under the auspices of the University must apply for listing on the University Diver Register and gain approval from the UQ Boating and Diving Officer ( before commencing fieldwork. Non-UQ visitors should contact the HIRS Boating and Diving Officer ( All visitors must have dived or snorkeled in the previous 12 months in order to engage in those activities at HIRS.

The following information is required:

  • completed Snorkel or SCUBA Diver Registration Form
  • copies of relevant diving qualifications
  • copies of diving logbooks
  • copy of a current AS/NZ 2299 Australian Commercial Dive Medical within 12 months, or SPUMS (please note: undergraduate students involved in diving activities as part of their course work will only require a recreational diving medical dated within the last 12 months.)
  • copy of current First Aid and Oxygen Administration qualifications

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.