Tantabiddi Boat Ramp Redevelopment

The key gateway to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, managed by the Shire of Exmouth, is getting a facelift.

Tantabiddi boat ramp is very popular with the recreation boating fraternity, the whale shark operators, government agencies who use the ramp for coastal compliance-related issues, research vessels and locals. The existing boat ramp is a double-lane structure that is impacted by extreme coastal processes associated with cyclonic conditions.

As a result of the ongoing operational issues and a request by the Shire of Exmouth, a special Tantabiddi Taskforce was established to consider options to address these issues. 

The Department of Transport chairs the Tantabiddi Taskforce and is leading planning and investigations for the project.


Why is a new facility needed?

A new boating facility is required to address safety and access issues. The existing small, two-lane facility is not fit for its purpose and doesn’t meet the needs of the varied user groups.
Separation of the commercial and recreational users is required to improve safety and accessibility and relieve congestion. A relocated facility, away from the silting and flood impacts of the Tantabiddi Creek, will provide for year-round launching and provide certainty for commercial operators.

A new `Gateway to Ningaloo’ is needed to provide a world-class visitor experience.

Image: Congestion at existing Tantabiddi Boat Ramp parking

Image: Carpark and overflow parking at Tantabiddi Boat Ramp

Image: Flood event in Exmouth (2014)

Image: Flood event in Exmouth (2014)


What was considered when choosing a site for the new facility?

Detailed studies, consultations, and investigations have been undertaken to inform the site selection.

The key influencing factors:

  • Need to improve access and safety by separating the commercial operations from recreational users.Relocation of the facility away from the impacts of flooding from the Tantabiddi Creek.
  • Strong desire to minimise impacts to the environment and culturally sensitive areas, including impacts to the marine and land environment.
  • Availability of an appropriate amount of land for car and trailer parking to accommodate busy periods and avoid overflow parking in the surrounding area.

Where is the preferred site?

A site to the south of the existing facility and away from the flooding impacts from the Tantabiddi Creek has been identified as the preferred site.

The area is already being used for boat launching and, as it is within the already impacted boating area, has been extensively assessed.

What studies and investigations have been completed to date?

The following detailed investigations have been completed or are in progress:

  • coastal processes and modelling, including sediment movement;
  • environmental studies, including flora and fauna surveys;
  • marine studies, including benthic habitat;
  • cultural heritage survey and engagement;
  • geotechnical survey and interpretive report; and,
  • ocean data on currents, wave heights and tides.

Some of the information has been used as part of the site selection process and early planning.

The results will also be used to progress environmental referrals, design of the facility and the business case being prepared to secure funding for the construction project.

How is the local environment being considered, and what approvals are required?

The program of detailed investigations and studies, specifically the flora and fauna surveys, the marine fauna, turtles and benthic habitat studies for this project, will inform the environmental referrals to the State and Commonwealth environmental authorities.

Engagement with traditional owners will be ongoing to consider the cultural values and heritage of this area. The project will be referred for environmental and heritage approvals.

What will be included in the facility?

The preliminary concept for the facility includes:

  • a four-lane boat ramp
  • finger jetties
  • boat holding jetty with universal access
  • commercial passenger transfer jetty with universal access
  • 160 bay car trailer parking, bus parking, and pick up
  • loading jetty
  • ablutions, public open space, shade shelters and amenities
  • artwork and interpretive design and signage
  • fishing platform.

There will be excellent opportunities for additional amenities, local artwork and interpretative themes.

The facility will be designed to meet the criteria as set down within the published Australian Standards for the design of marine facilities.

What will be the maximum size vessel to use the facility?

The facility is predominantly designed around use by recreational trailer boats and commercial charter vessels.

Recreational vessels are usually in the 5 to 8-metre range, noting vessels up to about 10 metres are sometimes trailered. Commercial charter vessels are in the 15 to 25-metre range.

Will the facility include boat moorings or pens?

The current facility concept is strongly focused on getting boats in and out of the water more safely, separating commercial and recreational uses and facilitating safer passenger transfers. The initial facility will only include jetties to hold vessels during launching and retrieval. Commercial moorings are already available, and pens could be considered as part of future stages if there is demand.

Will the existing ramps at Tantabiddi be available during the construction of the new facility?

It is expected that the existing ramps at Tantabiddi will remain operational during the construction of a new facility.

How long will the construction of the new facility take?

This detail has yet to be determined and will be part of the detailed design phase. A period of 12 months or more should be anticipated.

How much will the new facility cost?

The detailed design phase will confirm the costings for the project. An educated estimate costing for a new facility will be included in the business case supporting the application for funding for the project. 

What is the process from here?

The business case will be submitted to Government to seek funding for the construction of the new facility.

Once funding is available, the detailed design phase will begin, followed by a call for tenders for the construction phase.

Will there be further opportunities to comment on the design?

There will be further opportunities to comment in the detailed design phase.

The Shire welcomes feedback at any time via email.



Do you have any further questions?

Please contact the Shire of Exmouth, which will liaise with the relevant stakeholders to answer your questions

Mike Richardson, Executive Manager Infrastructure Services
info@exmouth.wa.gov.au | mrichardson@exmouth.wa.gov.au 
(08) 9949 3000