Carnarvon Fascine Entryway and Boat Harbour Pen Project

We are working with the Carnarvon community to implement improved vessel access for the Carnarvon Fascine.

The Fascine is a waterway that links the Carnarvon townsite to the coast.

Access to the Fascine’s entrance and channel has become restricted due to wave action, erosion and siltation.

In August 2020, the WA State Government allocated $7 million to the Department of Transport (DoT) to find a solution for Fascine access. The funding is part of the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan.

DoT has developed a program to improve fascine access that includes creating a new navigation channel to the ocean entrance of the Fascine.

DoT has conducted several technical and environmental investigations to inform the design and delivery of the proposed new channel.

While the investigations are underway, DoT is undertaking a range of actions to support the Carnarvon boating community, including:

  • the construction of 16 new boat pens in Carnarvon Boat Harbour to relocate vessels trapped in the Fascine;
  • providing pen fee relief to relocated vessels;
  • regularly surveying the Fascine entrance to assist safe navigation; and
  • regularly re-assessing location of the channel markers in the entrance and relocating the markers when required.

DoT is leading the program in collaboration with the Gascoyne Development Commission, the Shire of Carnarvon and the Carnarvon Yacht Club.

  Project background

The Fascine is a waterway bordering the Carnarvon townsite and the Gascoyne River. It is one of the Carnarvon’s key assets, linking the community to the coast.

In 2017, the sand spit that protected the Fascine entrance breached due to wave action.

This triggered excessive siltation of the Fascine entrance, closing the waterway to most vessels for several years, with minimum depths of less than half a metre at low tide.

Sand bars in the Fascine entrance and the channel alignment are constantly changing, further restricting access.

Siltation image

The Shire of Carnarvon engaged a coastal engineering consultancy to develop a plan for rebuilding and maintaining a navigation channel from the Fascine to Teggs Channel.

Competed in June 2020, the study:

  • proposed a dredged channel with a north-south alignment on the east side of the Fascine entrance.
  • noted that training walls may be required to prevent the channel from filling in with sediment and a medium to high level of ongoing maintenance dredging would be expected.

Soon after receiving funding in August 2020, DoT deployed instruments to collect wave and current data. This data has been used to support the technical and environmental studies being undertaken as part of the project.  

In November 2020, DoT held a workshop with various stakeholders and technical consultants to identify potential channel alignment solutions.  

Cost estimates for the potential channel alignments have been completed and locations to place the expected dredged material have been identified.

A key challenge of this study is accounting for the rapid and ongoing changes in the Fascine entrance.

Diagram showing 150m change in sandspit progression between November 2020 and November 2021.

Image: Sandspit progression from November 2020 and November 2021 (150 m change in 1 year)

  Project status


The Department of Transport will be undertaking a dredging campaign within the Carnarvon Fascine and Teggs Channel which commenced in July 2023. 

Dredging of the more exposed Teggs Channel was undertaken first during winter when the local weather conditions are favourable. The more sheltered dredging of the Fascine Entryway has now been completed with improved vessel access delivered. The remaining dredging at the Boat Harbour entrance channel is expected to be completed in early 2024. 

The dredged material has been deposited on the Babbage Island Spit and used to reconstruct the natural dune system to reduce the risk of the spit breaching in the future. Brush matting and sand fencing to stabilise the dune and help retain dredge material has commenced and will continue to be completed post dredging.

Navigational aids and revegetation treatments are forecast to be completed by April 2024.

While works are underway there will be restricted vehicle access to the Spit in order to maintain public safety. A Temporary Notice to Mariners will be published advising mariners to use caution when transiting the area and keep well clear of the dredging operations.

Monitoring and further revegetation of the reconstructed dune system will be required over the following years. 

Carnarvon Dredging map

Carnarvon Boat Harbour upgrades and boat pens

The construction of the new boat pens at Carnarvon Boat Harbour is now complete.

Use of the Fascine Boat Ramp is restricted so DoT has upgraded and reopened the boat ramp at the Carnarvon Boat Harbour. 

The boat ramp will remain open and available to recreational boat users until access is improved at the Fascine entrance.

Markers indicating the navigable parts of the channel were relocated in November 2020 and redundant navigational aids were removed.

An additional channel marker was installed in late 2021 to indicate changes in the channel. 


Environmental and heritage consultation

DoT has conducted a number of studies to support the environmental approval process, including:

  • A migratory bird survey that has confirmed that Federal environmental referral is not required.
  • A benthic habitat survey mapping the seabed in the area and a survey of the mangroves in the Fascine entrance.
  • Native vegetation clearing permit to support onshore dredge disposal management.
  • Consultation with the Yinggarda Aboriginal Corporation to ensure aboriginal heritage values are maintained throughout.


When will work start on the Fascine?

Work is expected to start mid 2023.


What will be the depth of the new entrance channel?

The target depth is 1.8 metres below the lowest tides (LAT) Carnarvon.


How wide will the new channel be?

15 metres.


Where will the dredged material from the new channel go?

Dredge material will be used to increase the dune height and stabilise the sand spit.

Any excess material is likely to be located in the area north east of Pickles Point, as it will help create new waterfront land near the boat harbour and is close to the anticipated dredging works.


 Will there be future dredging requirements for the new channel?

Any channel will experience sedimentation and maintenance dredging is likely to be required in the future.


What about trailer boats that can’t reliably get in and out of the Fascine entrance?

The old boat ramp will remain open in the Carnarvon Boat Harbour to enable boats to enter.

DoT is regularly undertaking hydrographic surveys of the Fascine entrance to determine if channel markers need to be relocated.  

The latest hydrographic survey data of the Fascine entrance is available below for vessels who wish to navigate the area.

Note: The Fascine entrance is too shallow to be formally considered as navigable. Vessels enter and exit at their own risk. 


If I move to the new boat pens, what fees will I have to pay?

There will be a temporary fee relief until a Fascine solution is implemented.

Vessels relocating from DoT vessel accommodation in the Carnarvon Boat Harbour will keep paying their current fees.

Vessels relocating from the Carnarvon Yacht Club must maintain their yacht club membership and keep paying yacht club pen fees but will have no additional fees to pay at the new pens.

Other vessels will pay pen fees in line with those paid at other facilities such as Exmouth.

Once a solution for the Fascine is implemented, all fees will be aligned with other DoT facilities.


What conditions will be associated with having my boat in the new pens?

Penholders will be required to meet the regular conditions:

  •  Vessel owners need to adhere to DoT Vessel Accommodation Terms and Conditions.
  • Vessel registration with DoT should be current.
  • The vessel owner cannot owe a pen fee debt to DoT at Carnarvon Boat Harbour or any other DoT maritime facility.


What size boat will be able to be moved to the boat harbour pens?

The pen sizes vary from 10 metres to 15 metres.


Will the new pens cause congestion for commercial operations?

No. The pen layout has been built according to Australian Standards.


What services will be available for penholders? Will power and water be available?

There is power, water, CCTV and security gates to the boat pens. Find out more about the facilities at Carnarvon Boat Harbour.


Can I live on board as a pen holder?

All penholders will need to follow DoT’s living on board policy.


Will the new pens take money away from the Carnarvon Yacht Club?

No. Any members who relocate their vessel to the Carnarvon Boat Harbour will continue to pay their fees to the Carnarvon Yacht Club until a  solution for Fascine access is implemented.


Who will use the new pens at the Carnarvon Boat Harbour after the channel is restored?

Anyone who needs a pen and adheres to the DoT Vessel Accommodation Terms and Conditions if there are pens available. There may be a waiting list, as required.

Contact us

To register your interest in a new pen in the boat harbour, or to subscribe to project newsletters, email

  Project documents

Page last updated: Wed Dec 20 2023 11:50:55 AM