Sydney Harbour: Australia Day boating advice

Sydney Australia Day
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NSW Maritime has advised skippers planning to head out on Sydney Harbour for what is traditionally the busiest day of the year, on Australia Day, to plan ahead and be familiar with any restrictions that may apply for the safe running of events.

People are being urged to put safety first on Australia Day with up to 1,000 boats expected to converge on Sydney Harbour to join in organised celebrations.

Roads and Maritime Services Acting Director Maritime, David Hunter said the agency will coordinate the on water traffic management for the day, including installing buoys to mark exclusion zones and providing skippers with advice both on the water in marked patrol vessels and on marine radio.

'Events are planned to start at 7.30am and continue at different locations throughout the harbour well into the night including fireworks at 9.15pm,' Mr Hunter said.

Tall Ships racing
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'For the safety and enjoyment of all who wish to participate, skippers should be aware of exclusion zones and familiarise themselves with when and where events are planned to take place.'

Exclusion zones for the safe staging of organised events will be marked by yellow buoys or patrolled by Roads and Maritime vessels as follows:

• Inside Farm Cove between Mrs Macquaries Point and Bennelong Point during the Great Australian Swim Series from 8am to 11am.
• A moving exclusion zone within 50 metres of the bow, sides and stern of ferries participating in the Ferrython from 11am to noon.
• A moving exclusion zone 200 metres from the bow and 50 metres from the sides and stern of HMAS Choules whilst underway and 50 metres all around when at anchor.
• 100 metres by 100 metres during the Australia Day 21 Gun Salute in the vicinity of Milsons Point from 11.50am to 12.10pm.
• 200 metres in diameter between Kirribilli Point and the Sydney Opera House from 12.15pm to 12.45pm for the Tug and Yacht Ballet.
• 200 metres in diameter west of Bradleys Head in Athol Bay from 1.30pm and 2.00pm for the Tug and Yacht Ballet.
• A moving exclusion zone within 50 metres of the bow, sides and stern of the Tall Ships participating in the Tall Ships Parade as they sail on a course from Bradleys Head to the Sydney Harbour Bridge from 1.00pm to 2.00pm.
• Inside Sydney Cove between Dawes Point and Bennelong Point during the Parachute and Flag Drop from 1.45 pm to 2.15pm.
• 50 metres of the concert barge when moored in position for performances.
• 500 metres ahead and 30 metres either side or astern of the seagoing ships while under way, and within 50 metres of ships when at the Point Piper and Athol Bay Buoys.

Boats big and small on the Harbour
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The speed limit for recreational vessels around exclusion zones will be six knots within 200 metres of the events. Wash should also be kept to a minimum.

'Skippers should also remain below the 0.05 blood alcohol limit or face heavy fines as random breath testing will be carried out,' Mr Hunter said.

'With the large number of vessels of all sizes on the water, skippers will need to remember to be patient, courteous and travel at a speed appropriate to conditions.

'Boating Safety Officers will be taking a zero tolerance approach and issuing on the spot fines for boaters who don’t wear a lifejacket when required to by law.

'People in boats smaller than 4.8 metres must wear a lifejacket when alone, boating offshore or at night.

'During the past decade, nine out of 10 people who drowned while boating in NSW were not wearing a lifejacket.

'Accidents can happen suddenly and to anyone. By remembering to wear a lifejacket at all times, it might just save your life,' Mr Hunter said.

For boating information for Australia Day, go to www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/sae1314/australia.html or http://www.australiaday.org.au
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