Rare permit is up for grabs
AN ULTRA rare opportunity has arisen for a Great Barrier Reef tour operator to obtain a premier mooring at one of the natural wonder’s most popular destinations.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has been advertising for operators to apply for a permanent lagoon mooring at Low Isles with a permit for year-round commercial use.
The once-in-a-lifetime permit provides for boats up to 35m long, with a maximum of 24 passengers on board, and a limit of 22 people to visit the island 365 days a year.
GBRMPA says the exceedingly rare combination permit and mooring would suit a new operating intending to expand its business to Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef.
It would also suit an existing operator based in the area, or a business that would offer an enhanced charter service to and from Low Isles with the added value that the permit and mooring location offers.
Low Isles Lighthouse care- taker Wayne Fox said there was only a handful of moorings at the reef destination.
“They’re extremely hard to get hold of,” he said.
“All other operators, if they want to access Low Isles, they need permits but they only allow them to visit the islands about 50 days a year.
“This particular mooring and permit associated with it is one of the few that allows 365day access.”
Low Isles, which is made up of two islands (Woody and Low) is located 15km off the coast of Port Douglas, and is considered to be the closest part of the Great Barrier Reef to mainland Australia.
The protected sandy coral cay has strict visitor restrictions, due to the abundance of sea life, coral, and large population of sea turtles.
Mr Fox said so far it had been a very busy year for the isles.
“It is certainly looking at continuing on, particularly coming up to our busy part of the year during winter,” he said.
Snorkelling off Lows Isles