Special exclusion zones Sydney Harbour: Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve
Published 14 years ago, updated 5 years ago
As reported in Marine Business-World
Thousands of boats will be heading out to watch the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Boxing Day and the fireworks on New Year’s Eve, as summer brings on the major boating events of the year. These occasions offer unforgettable experiences to everyone going afloat.
To make sure these outings are unforgettable for all the right reasons and to ensure safe and enjoyable boating for all, NSW Maritime has again authorized special exclusion zones on the harbour and will be in enforcing the associated special restrictions, as well as the standard boating safety requirements and rules of the road.
NSW Maritime’s free annual booklet, Sydney’s Aquatic Events – A Boating Guide 2009-2010, has additional information on the major summer events and will be available from the start of December from NSW Maritime offices, harbourside fishing and boating clubs, marinas and chandleries.
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race start
The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race will start for the 65th time at 1.00pm on Boxing Day. The fleet will start from two lines near Shark Island and sail to turning marks inside Sydney Heads, before heading out to sea and rounding Mark Zulu, one mile east of the Heads.
To prevent interference in the race by the spectator fleet, an exclusion zone will be enforced from midday until 2.00pm. This area will be marked with yellow buoys and some fixed navigation markers. All spectator craft must remain outside the exclusion zone and are not permitted to anchor within 100m of its boundaries.
Skippers must also observe a “no wash” speed restriction of 6 knots and keep well clear of any participating craft (which will display a special race flag on their backstay) or support vessels.
Volunteer marine rescue vessels will patrol the spectator limit lines. Please obey instructions from these boats and from NSW Maritime and Water Police craft.
General safety messages will be broadcast on marine radio band 27.88 and VHF Channels 17 (NSW Maritime control network) and 13 (Sydney Ports).
As in past years, spectator craft are not permitted to operate under sail near the exclusion zone from 12 pm until the fleet clears the Heads.
This year NSW Maritime is also urging caution in relation to passive craft such as kayaks, canoes and surf boats. The area within 100 metres of the exclusion zone is considered unsafe for passive craft because of the large number of bigger boats and their wash, as well as the potential difficulty in seeing and avoiding them, and NSW Maritime and Police will be patrolling and enforcing in this area.
Spectator Vantage Points
Spectators intending to just watch the race start should position their craft on the western side of the Harbour.
Spectators who position their boats in the eastern channel can follow the fleet down the Harbour to the Heads and out to sea. To watch the fleet sail through the Heads it is advisable to position your craft well down the harbour (towards the Heads) before the starting cannon fires. At the Heads keep well clear of the rounding marks.
If going out to sea, only proceed through the “no anchoring zone” near South Head.
NSW Maritime advises all skippers to follow the directions of officials on the water, stay well clear of the exclusion zone between 12 midday and 2.00pm and observe the “no wash” 6-kt maximum speed limit to ensure that Boxing Day is enjoyable and safe for all afloat.
New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour:
Sydney New Year’s Eve, presented by the City of Sydney, will entertain approximately 1.5 million spectators around the harbour on 31 December. The fireworks displays are among the largest in the world, with firing positions extending 6km up the harbour and using more than 100,000 individual effects.
Going afloat is a great way to experience Sydney New Year’s Eve, but with so many boats on the harbour it is important that skippers observe boating safety guidelines and act with care, courtesy and common sense.
In the interest of public safety an exclusion zone – marked by lit yellow buoys – will extend from Cockatoo Island in the west to Clark Island in the east.
As in past years, the exclusion zone will be activated from 8 pm on New Year’s Eve. This year it will remain active for 15 minutes longer than previous years – to at least 12.45am on New Year’s Day – to facilitate the safety clearance of the fireworks barges after the conclusion of the midnight fireworks.
No unauthorized traffic will be allowed inside the exclusion zone and there will be no access under the Sydney Harbour Bridge during this time.
Advice to spectators
- Maximum 6-knot no-wash in force between 3 pm 31 December 2008 and 2 am 1 January 2009 between Cockatoo Island and Steele Point.
* Move into position early, preferably well before sunset, as popular spots such as Farm Cove fill quickly. Do not arrive late and try to push in between anchored vessels and the buoy line. You will be moved!
* Remember, be bright – think safety at night! Use appropriate navigation lights.
* Anchor clear of the Exclusion Zone buoys. Dragging anchor will not be tolerated. Do not allow your vessel to lie over the boundary line.
* Use Farm Cove only if your vessel is less than 15 metres in length.
* Allow small craft to position themselves at the Exclusion Zone boundary.
* When dropping anchor keep 200m clear of submarine cables or pipelines.
* Rafting up will be permitted, but securing to the shore will not.
* Keep under the 0.05 alcohol limit if you are the master of the vessel.
* Don’t set off flares for fun. It is dangerous and illegal.
* The Farm Cove foreshore area and Bennelong Point are alcohol-free between 8 am on 31 December 2008 and 6 am on 1 January 2009. The transfer or loading of alcohol and glass to boats in the precinct of Farm Cove is not permitted.
* Use of Man O’ War Jetty (Farm Cove) and wharves in the Circular Quay precinct are subject to approval from NSW Maritime. No access between the end of the fireworks and 6 am on 1 January 2009.
* Families wishing to leave the Harbourside East after the 9 pm family fireworks should contact the nearest NSW Maritime Boating Officer. Call VHF 17 (02) 9563 8542 on the night or ask a harbour volunteer.
* If you need to move your vessel due to an emergency, speak with the operator of one of the on-water control vessels: NSW Maritime, Water Police, Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol or Australian Volunteer Coast Guard.
Spectator vantage points:
Both sides of Sydney Harbour Bridge provide ample opportunity for on-water spectators. Comfortable boating improves as you move away for the Harbour Bridge/Fort Denison area into the calmer waters near the outer west and eastern fireworks sites (Cockatoo and Clark Islands).
West of the Harbour Bridge on the northern side:
Clarkes Point, Ferry Jetty, Manns Point, Balls Head, Berrys Bay, Lavender Bay.
West of the Harbour Bridge on the southern side:
Mort Bay, Ballast Point.
East of the Harbour Bridge on the northern side:
Neutral Bay, Shell Cove, Mosman Bay, Athol Bay.
East of the Harbour Bridge on the southern side:
Farm Cove, Woolloomooloo, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay