Commuter wharves

Commuter Wharves are used by timetabled services such as ferries.

Commercial vessel operators who intend to use these wharves must apply for a permit to access a commuter wharf. A permit application must be submitted in the approved form and manner, and must be accompanied by the relevant fee. Where a permit is granted, it allows a commercial vessel operator to berth at a Commuter Wharf on a touch and go basis, with berthing times limited to five minutes.

Where a commercial vessel is secured to a wharf without a permit, both the master and owner of the vessel may be guilty of an offence under section 85A of the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1995 and may be subject to Penalty Notice or Court Action.

A permit may be granted subject to conditions as may be specified in the permit and the permit holder must comply with those conditions.

A permit may be suspended or cancelled on a number of grounds, including:

  • if the permit holder fails to comply with any permit conditions
  • the master of a vessel to which the permit applies fails to give berthing priority to a timetabled passenger service or fails to vacate a wharf on the approach of such a service
  • the permit holder provides information to Transport for NSW that is false or misleading.

The permit holder must notify Transport for NSW in writing if any of the matters recorded on the permit are no longer correct.

A permit must be presented to Transport for NSW staff for inspection on request, within a period of 24 hours or within such longer period as approved.

Commuter Wharves cannot be booked.

Timetabled services have priority access over other wharf users with order of precedence as follows:

  1. Contracted Timetabled services (public transport services provided under contract to Transport for NSW)
  2. Non-contracted timetabled services
  3. Other commercial vessel operators.

Non-contracted timetabled services and other commercial vessel operators need to purchase a Permit to access Commuter Wharves.

Types of Permits

Regular Use Permit

The Regular Use Permit is intended for intensive users and ferry operators and covers one or more commercial vessels used by a commercial vessel operator.

There are two types of Regular Use Permits:

  1. Small – for vessels with a maximum passenger capacity of 50 passengers or less
  2. Large – for vessels with a maximum passenger capacity of 51 passengers or more.

For a commercial vessel operator with vessels of varying passenger capacity, only one permit is required to cover all vessels they use. The permit fee will be based on the largest maximum passenger capacity vessel.

All vessel passenger capacities are based on smooth water operations as expressed on the vessel’s Certificate of Survey and Operation.

The permit is not transferable to any other commercial vessel operator.

The permit may be purchased for durations of 6 months or 12 months.

Voucher pack

The Commuter Wharf Voucher pack is a book of 10 'single use permit' vouchers intended for less frequent users.

The Voucher pack is issued to a single vessel, allowing that vessel to berth at Commuter Wharves up to 10 times (once per voucher).

The Voucher is not transferable to any other vessel or any other commercial vessel operator.

The Voucher pack must be carried on board the vessel when it uses a Commuter Wharf and must be presented to Transport for NSW staff for inspection on request.
Each berthing at a Commuter Wharf use must be recorded on a Voucher in the pack and must be reported to Transport for NSW within 48 hours of the wharf use.

The Voucher is valid for a period of 12 months from purchase and is not refundable.

Terms and conditions

See the terms and conditions for detailed information.


Refer to the fees section for further information.

Application for a Commuter Wharf Permit or Voucher Pack

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