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Skippers urged to ensure Sydney is a safe harbour this Australia Day

by Emily Rundle 23 Jan 22:38 PST
Australia Day on Sydney Harbour © Emily Rundle

Australia Day is one of the busiest on Sydney Harbour and skippers are being reminded to familiarise themselves with exclusion zones, obey speed limits and remain mindful of other boats in the name of safety for all.

"More than 2000 commercial and recreational vessels of all shapes and sizes will take to the harbour between to 8am and 9.45pm to view and take part in events including the Australia Day Harbour Parade, Tug and Yacht Ballet, Ferrython and Tall Ships Race," NSW Maritime Acting Executive Director Alex Barrell said.

"Safety, as always, will be the number one priority.

"Skippers will need to be patient, travel at a speed appropriate to the conditions, be mindful of your vessel's impact on the enjoyment of others and use common sense and courtesy."

Exclusion zones marked by yellow buoys - which in the case of the Ferrython and the Harbour Parade are moving exclusion zones - are available for the information of skippers.

"It's important to know where exclusion zones, spectator areas and transit zones are before you set out," Mr Barrell said.

"Skippers who anchor within an exclusion zone will need to remain in that position for the duration of the event.

"Skippers will have permission to stop or drift within the Sydney Harbour Transit Zone between 11.45am and 12.20pm provided they remain outside active exclusion zones.

"During these times a buoyed spectator area will be established in Jeffrey Bay in the vicinity of Jeffrey Street Wharf to allow people on small vessels to anchor or drift to watch the events.

"The speed limit for recreational vessels around exclusion zones will be six knots within 200 metres of the events. Recreational vessels should not come within 50 metres of ferries, tall ships or cruise ships and wash should also be kept to a minimum."

Mr Barrell said NSW Maritime will manage on-water safety and boating traffic for Australia Day, coordinating 49 vessels from Marine Rescue NSW, NSW Police Marine Area Command and its own fleet of patrol boats, to maintain exclusion zones and provide safe boating advice for spectator craft attending the event.

"Boaters must keep in mind Australia Day on the harbour is a long day of consecutive events.

Vessels operating after sunset, whether at anchor or under way, must carry and show the correct lights and skippers must also remain below the 0.05 blood alcohol limit with random breath testing to be carried out on the water throughout the day," Mr Barrell said.

The port of Sydney will be closed from 10.30am until 10.30pm, and Cockle Bay will be closed to private craft between 10am and 11.30pm and closed to all vessels between 5pm and 11.30pm.

For boating information on Australia Day, check the website for more details and

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