hassle-free field trips and research

James Cook University (JCU) Boating and Diving is the largest-scale marine research operations facility in Queensland. Our focus is on well maintained, quality equipment that meets stringent Australian safety standards.  We work with undergraduate and postgraduate students, external organisations such as CSIRO and AIMS, other universities and research institutes through the world.

Our mission:

  • Act as the service provider for JCU researchers, students, and teaching activities;
  • Provide  equipment and facilities to visiting scientists across institutions;
  • Manage compliance, operations, competency testing, and auditing in accordance with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).


marine biology and ecology, coastal management and climate change

Located at JCU’s Townsville and Cairns campuses, Boating and Diving is uniquely situated on doorstep of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. With over 3000 individual reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef is a hotspot for marine diversity, attracting researchers and students from across the world to study marine biology and ecology, coastal management, climate change, and veterinary science, among many other fields.

Boating and Diving oversees all boating, snorkelling and diving equipment at the Orpheus Island Research Station, which hosts field trips of up to 60 undergraduate students. Designated a ‘no take’ zone, the waters around Orpheus Island are home to to 1100 known species of fish and 340 of the 350 known species of reef coral. We ensure visitors have everything they need to safely use this important natural laboratory.

Your safety

is our top priority

Our expert team works with researchers from all disciplines to deliver well-maintained, quality equipment.  We work closely with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to track the latest changes in policy and procedure.  Each of our vessels is issued with a Certificate of Operation, in accordance with the National Standard of Commercial Vessels, and our commercial boats comply with the highest safety standards and other operating criteria.  All diving equipment is maintained to the appropriate standards.

As all hirers must be fully licensed, we'll help ensure your certifications are up-to-date and connect you with training providers if necessary. Our team can assist in submitting your field trip plans by covering the necessary inductions, addressing any safety documentation required, and helping you seek approval for your activities.


all your activities online via the Boating and Diving Register.

Use of our best-in-class online Register for managing your activities.  We integrate data about people, vessels, diving equipment, policies and procedures into a central catalogue for you to use.  By accessing the dashboard, we can ensure compliance with Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S) requirements and keep track of any re-certification needed, making it simpler for you to get out on or into the water.  This makes it easier for you to file your dive or boat trip plan, covering details of who, where, when, the equipment you're using and your intentions.

Location & Contact