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FRANCES BAY. 12°27.328S, 130°50.857E

The Northern Territory Department of Lands and Planning owns and operates the Frances Bay Mooring Basin, including associated wharves Hornibrooks, Fisherman’s and Raptis. The Mooring Basin or ‘Duck Pond’ lays a short way up Sadgroves Creek.

Check tides because approaches after Stokes Hill Wharf almost dry out in the spring lows. Add two metres to your own draft as the rule of thumb for the lowest tide to approach the locks around here. The internal facilities are for the commercial fishing fleet but they do accommodate visitors, especially if your yacht is too large for the other three marinas. There is often a queue at the lock so best contact in advance to reserve a slot.

The lockmaster will allocate you a position inside on European-style stern-to the dock berths. Lasso or loop a line onto the 1-metre diameter piles driven in about 25 metres off the dock and reverse in or tie alongside another boat. The jetties are fixed and there can be minor tidal movements inside when the lock is opened so don’t tie up too short on the stern.

Inside is a real cultural treat being home to more than 50 local prawn trawlers and barramundi fishermen. It’s a short walk north to the Dinah Beach Cruising Yacht Association site, with a small bar and restaurant. This is the only basin in Darwin where you can drive a vehicle right up to your vessel for loading gear or to carry out heavy maintenance.

Up to 60 trawlers can be offloading fresh banana prawns between April and June and again with tiger prawns between August and November. A few boats will sell to you direct and will have a sign out front if they do. Lockmaster: VHF Ch. 6 “Duck Pond Lock”. +61 4 0111 7062 Small Ships Scheduler: +61 8 8922 0617

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While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.

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