Australia Day boating advice for Sydney Harbour

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

NSW Maritime Acting General Manager Maritime Operations Trevor Williams said spectator craft were required to observe exclusion zones for drawcard events such as the Ferrython, in which no craft is allowed to come closer than 50m to a competing ferry, for safety reasons.

'During big aquatic events, NSW Maritime has the role of enforcing special event traffic management measures on the water – such as the maximum 6-knot speed limit, no wash areas and exclusion zones, marked by yellow buoys,' Mr Williams said.

'The sheer volume of traffic on the harbour on Australia Day requires every skipper to remember they are responsible for everyone on board and to keep a proper lookout and maintain a safe speed at all times. 'Back on the program of events this year and bound to be popular is a race between the Tall Ships – the large, classic square-rigged sailing ships – from Bradleys Head to a finish line under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.'

Mr Williams said boaters should remember to take it easy on the drink. 'The 0.05 blood alcohol limit applies to anyone in charge of a moving vessel – so go easy on the drink if you intend to drive a boat,' Mr Williams said. 'It’s important also to remember that wind, waves and sun can increase the effects of alcohol.'

Skippers can tune in to VHF 17 for advice, updates and on-water situation reports as they happen.

Skippers must observe exclusion zones for Australia Day on Sydney Harbour:·
Within 50m of the ferries in the Ferrython as the race takes place – from 11am;·
Within 50m of Tall Ships as the Tall Ships Race takes place from Bradleys Head to under the Harbour Bridge – from 3pm;·
Within 50m of the Pacific Sun which will be anchored at Athol Bay – from 8.30am to 4.30pm. ·
In Farm Cove for the duration of the Body Science Great Australian Swim Final – starting at 8.30am;·
In Farm Cove for the 21 Gun Salute – from 12 noon;·
In Farm Cove from 12 noon and off Bradleys Head from 12.30pm for the Seahawk Search and Rescue display;· In Farm Cove for the Red Berets Parachute Drop – from 2.30pm.

For more on navigation restrictions and boating safety www.maritime.nsw.gov.au For further details on Australia Day activities go to www.australiaday.com.au.

For high res maps of Australia Day 2012 events and navigation restrictions on Sydney Harbour, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/nswmaritime/6397522725/in/photostream