Roads & Maritime Services is advising boaters to plan ahead for a safe & enjoyable New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour.
Executive Director of New South Wales Maritime, Angus Mitchell, said up to 4000 spectator boats are expected to compete for the best vantage point on what is the busiest time on Sydney Harbour.
“The sheer numbers of boats of all shapes & sizes requires careful planning to ensure there is no opportunity for anchor rage out on the water” Mister Mitchell said.
“The best message for boaties is to not leave your trip too late – there are bound to be crowds accessing the water at boat ramps & the vast numbers of other vessels on the water and the 6 knot speed limit can slow down the journey”
“Some people anchor up to 2 days ahead for the prime viewing spots for the New Year’s Eve fireworks. It is one of the biggest challenges for Roads & Maritime Services to manage the on-water traffic”
“Skippers should make sure all their safety gear is on board, navigation lights are working & they avoid exclusion zones”
“Lighting checks & random breath testing will occur throughout New Year’s Eve. Boat skippers should stay under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit or face heavy fines, loss of licence or even jail”
“When the festivities are complete, skippers will need to remember to be patient & to display the appropriate navigation lights as hundreds of other boats will be trying to move around the Harbour at the same time”
“The large number of spectator craft can create choppy conditions & it is important everyone has a life-jacket available regardless of the size of the boat they are travelling in”
“It is also essential for all skippers to observe important boating safety guidelines such as keeping a proper lookout & maintaining a safe speed”
“Unless it is an emergency, boaters should never set off flares on the water – it is illegal & dangerous”
“Roads & Maritime Services will coordinate the on-water traffic management including installing an exclusion zone of yellow buoys which will operate from 8pm on Saturday the 31st of December to 12:45am on New Year’s Day extending from Cockatoo Island in the west to Clark Island in the east.
“No unauthorised vessels will be allowed in the area during this time & access under the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be prohibited. The speed limit for recreational vessels in & around the exclusion zone will be 6 knots”
“If you intend to pick up passengers in the event area, have a plan in place as many wharves will only be accessible to pedestrians through alcohol-free & ‘no glass permitted’ zones. Road closures may also be in place at many locations”
Maps, exclusion zones & recommended vantage points can be found at http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/documents/about/news-events/sydney-summer-aquatic-events-guide.pdf (Portable Document Format, 3.92 megabytes).
Media Release: Roads & Maritime Services