The Western Australia Cruising Guide

Now in its fifth edition, Fremantle Sailing Club’s Western Australian Cruising Guide is regarded as the coastal cruising bible for WA, covering the coast from Darwin to Eucla, including the Christmas and Cocos Islands. This book is a definite “must have”, especially for cruising the Kimberley, with over 600 pages, 220 chartlets and many interesting colour photos. The main source of information for this guide is feedback from the hundreds of sailors who have shared their knowledge of this largely unexplored part of the coast.
This new edition is a major revision of the previous edition published in 2014. It includes dozens of new diagrams and several hundred new items of information. The first part of the guide covers weather, tides, passage planning, communications, emergency services, marine animals and government departments. The second part contains specific pilotage information on many anchorages, showing suitable spots to anchor, dangers, the amount of protection, tidal information, places of interest, history of the area, and local contact details.

  • A pdf file, for reading on any computer, tablet or smartphone with Acrobat Reader installed.

  • An ePub file, for use with e-readers such as Kobo, and any platform with software such as Adobe Digital Editions, or iBooks (Apple devices only).

This will enable the guide to be read on almost any platform, including desktops (PC and Mac), laptops, tablets (ipad etc.), android phones and iphones.

The pdf file is about 112MB and the ePub file is about 150MB, so a reasonable internet connection is required for sensible download times. Once downloaded, you do not need an internet connection unless you want to use the live links in the document. Hardcopy versions will not be offered, but anyone can print out all or part of a copy if they wish.



WA Cruising Guide 5th Ed Pdf

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The current edition is version 5.10. It will be updated at regular intervals so if you wish to be notified when a new version is available for download, or wish to contribute further knowledge by correcting errors or providing new information, email the editor at

To go behind the scenes and find out how the guide has been prepared, download this document:

Kim Klaka

 – Editor


WA Cruising Guide Corrections

Radio Communications

P32 Jurien Bay Sea Rescue The VHF protocol is now to call on VHF 16 and then change to VHF 21
P32 Lancelin Sea Rescue The VHF protocol is now to call on VHF 16 and then change to VHF 22

Darwin to Cape Leveque

P103 Prince Regent River EAST The Chartlet of the Prince Regent River left out of the printed edition.SORRY

Cap Leveque to North West Cape

P143 Broome The chartlet of Broome was omitted in the printed 4th edition; sorry! You can download it here.


P168 Mangrove Islands ( North Island) A report has been received that there is a rock at the recommended anchorage location. The discoverer of this rock suggests an alternative anchorage location at 21 deg 27′ S , 115 deg 21′ E

North West Cape to Geraldton

P203 Abrolhos Easter Group When entering the anchorage to Joe Smith Island, the floats should be left to STARBOARD, not to port.
P204 Abrolhos Pelsaert Group An uncharted reef has been reported between The Coral Patches and Newman Island. See attached for details
P186 Carnarvon Delete the referenced report from July 2013 about water depths in the Facine. Three subsequent reports do not support this July 2013 report, instead they reiterate  the advice in the main body of the text: the depths in the Facine and approaches are  a minimum 1.7m below chart datum.

Fremantle to Bunbury

P236 Mandurah The approach and entrance to Mandurah has changed dramatically as of December 2014. Contact Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club or WA Dept of Transport for latest information.

Bunbury to Cape Naturaliste

P241 Port Geographe The entrance has been rebuilt and the approach has changed, as of December 2014. Contact WA Dept of Transport or Port Geographe Marina for latest information.
P241 Port Geographe Geographe Bay Marina (Port Geographe) longitude is 115 E not 155 E as written.
Also the “e” is missing from Geographe on the chartlet at P240.

Cape Leeuwin to Bald head Overview

P249 Augusta Boat Harbour The new boat harbour was opened in November 2014.

Bald head to Butty Harbour Overview

P265 Hassell Beach The anchorage on the NW end of Bald Island has been reported to have severe surge and roll in SW swell of 1.5m, as experienced by a 14.5m cruising boat.

Supplementary Information

P295 Dangerous creatures and sea mammals The advice for treatment of marine stings has been modified and updated. You can download it here.

Yachting WA was formed in 1950 and is an incorporated association under the Associations Incorporation Act 1987. Yachting WA is a creature of the yacht clubs and class associations of WA – the Members. In 2016 Yachting WA became Australian Sailing when all states agreed to become a national organisation.

Describes itself as “the peak body for all forms of yachting, both power and sail, throughout Australia”.

The Amateur Boat Builders’ Association of Western Australia (ABBA) is a group of home boat builders building in timber, aluminium, fibreglass and other materials. Evening meetings involve a guest speaker on a relevant topic. They are held on the first Wednesday of every even month (Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct & Dec) at South of Perth Yacht Club from 7.30 pm for an 8.00 pm start. Visits to members’ projects or other events of interest also take place bi-monthly, usually on a Saturday afternoon.


AvoidingComputer­ ‐ Assisted Calamity by Mike Reynolds, FSC, 20 Feb 2014

The Club has purchased a licence to the Seafarer RNC electronic charts produced by the Australian Hydrographic Service (AHS). The charts can be viewed by all FSC members. The licence covers all Aus charts for the entire Australian coastline and Indonesia. The charts are updated monthly from a CD supplied by AHS.

In 2003 the Australian Hydrographic Service introduced a system that allows you to receive Australian Notices to Mariners for your charts by e-mail. This service is called eNotices.


Locations of the moorings owned by FSC

Summer is when the yacht’s dinghy or tender is put to hard use. Indeed we are stuck without it. But do you have the right tender for the job, and do you get the most out of your tender?

Plaka Boat with Torqeedo Electric Outboard

Craypot lines cause much anxiety for cruisers on the WA Coast, especially on the Abrolhos Cruise. Here is one product that looks like it could help. With a set of “spurs” one could almost become blasé about the craypot lines that seem to invariably litter the line of the leads into Jurien Bay!

Why do yacht designers fit T-bulbs to the keels of modern racer-cruisers?!


This link is to the Australian Government Customs Service website pages dealing with yachts entering Australia. Overseas yachts intending to visit Australia should note particularly the legal requirement to give Customs advance notice of their arrival.

The Western Australia Department of Planning and Infrastructure has responsibility for all things marine (harbours, moorings, registration etc). Their Marine home page is here.


From their homepage: “ActiveCaptain currently has a visual database of over 10,000 marinas, over 15,000 local knowledge markers, 4,000 reviews, and 2,000 anchorages. Continued success depends on you.” You need to register to get the most out of it, but registration is free and they don’t seem to spam you. Once registered, you can add information about marinas and cruising spots. I registered and added some information about FSC. If each FSC Cruiser adds something about their favourite cruise destination in WA, the (currently sparse) information about WA cruising areas will quickly fill in and this will become a useful resource for all of us.

an invaluable source of information collected by Ross and Roslyn Squire

Information about Marinas, services, charters etc all over the world

Is this Cruising? by Mike Reynolds and Nicki Alderton

It is a practical onboard medical guide on managing wounds, written by Dr Kaye Miller (Pegasus II).


Myths, Perception, and Reality By Kim Klaka

A summary of opportunities to improve your sailing skills in Western Australia


Technical - Electronics

Terry and Louise Baker of Miss Saigon drew my attention to this fantastic site. It provides a range of articles (and online discussion by sailors/cruisers) about the various bits of electronic kit (chart plotters, GPS, wind instruments etc.) we find ourselves beholden to these days

February 2014 Topic night presentation by Mike Reynolds

Case study by Mike and Nicki Reynolds

HF DSC, Iridium, GO!, Charts & Google Earth Images
Presentation by Mike Reynolds


Technical - Going Aloft

The “PowerPoint” presentation (in PDF format) from Rob Hills’ Feb 2009 Topics Night presentation on “Climbing Your Mast” Note, this is a largish file (2.6MB) so I suggest you don’t try and download it via HF Modem!

I own an earlier version of the Topclimber and can personally vouch for its effectiveness. It requires a bit more effort to climb the mast with one of these than it does with a bosun’s chair, but as you can use it solo, it requires NO strength or effort on the part of the “Admiral”, something that’s bound to reduce the tension that often develops around a mast-climbing event! Once aloft in one of these, you feel much safer than in a bosun’s chair, especially if in any kind of a sea. I’ve hung upside down in one, working on the underside of the spreaders more than once.

Technical - Under Your Boat

In this article for the Bluewater Bulletin in June 2004, Dr Kim Klaka ruins some perfectly good bar-room debates with a few facts! Read on to learn how smoothe the bottom of your boat really needs to be.

If you have a steel boat, this article is mandatory reading. If your boat has any metal bits in contact with salt water, this article is mandatory reading. In case you’re still reading, your boat does have metal bits in contact with the water – read the article! Seriously, Nick Walker does a superb job of simplifying the mysteries of electrolysis for the rest of us in this excerpt from the October-November 2009 FSC Cruising Newsletter.

Technical - Waste Management

These are the notes from Dr Kim Klaka’s Cruising Section Topics Night (22 November 2002) on Holding Tanks. An excellent resource on this sticky subject.

Technical - General

This detailed metallurgical report gives the reasons why the swivel in an anchor cable broke. There are arguments for and against using swivels in anchor cables; this report illustrates one of the arguments against.

A good anchoring system will keep you in place but who knows how dodgy that mooring is

Interesting article that tests the holding power of various types of anchors in hard sand in California with interesting, and sometimes surprising results.

Kim Klaka’s November 2003 Topics Night talk on anchoring – still as relevant today as it was then and an excellent treatment of the subject.

This is a detailed document which gives excellent tips on manoeuvering your boat, especially in tight areas and marinas. If you read only one treatise in your life on boat manoeuvering, make it this one. Can be downloaded and stored on your computer or printed out.

Anchor Selection, regalvanisation and a Case of a Caveat Emptor.
Before purchasing chain, ensure the Chain has been manufactured to AS 2321-2001.
Some imported Chains may not comply.
Jim Put  SV “Morning Tide”


Obtaining Weather Information at Sea by Mike Reynolds.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology weather website for Western Australia

This page enables you to obtain wind forecasts for any part of Australia for up to 7 days ahead. Many of us who use it are finding it more useful (and accurate?) than the usual bulletins.

A complicated but detailed European website which includes global wave and cyclone forecasting for 15 days, 30 days and 13 month trends.

Oceanweather shows ship-based observations and wave reports around the world.

Meteye gives you similar information to Predictwind for Australia-map of region with wind and waves as a time step video.

A much simplified web page with the usual BoM marine forecasts, that can be downloaded quickly as it has just a small amount of text and no graphics. Potentially useful for expensive/slow internet connections or at the limit of reception range

Elders Weather provides comprehensive weather information combined with the ability to focus on a local area. A number of cruisers report this site is particularly accurate for the Geographe Bay area (try Bunbury, Busselton or Dunsborough).

Comprehensive wind and wave forecasts with an emphasis on windsurfing and kite surfing, but despite that many yachties swear by Sea breeze. 7-day forecasts, live wind and swell data.

Comprehensive Australian weather services website. Free membership available which gives you localised weather with the facility to customise units, weather, views, email alerts and alarms etc.