Jet Ski Club

Roads and Maritime Services is urging people to put safety first as thousands are expected to be out on NSW waterways celebrating Australia Day.

Roads and Maritime Executive Director Maritime Mr Angus Mitchell said it’s critical boaters take precautions so that they stay safe and enjoy the day.

“A large number of vessels of all sizes will be out enjoying the day from Tweed Heads in the north and down to the South Coast – so skippers will need to remember to be patient and always travel at a speed appropriate to conditions.

“We will have compliance teams out across the whole state coordinating on water traffic management for the day and checking that boaters stay out of restriction zones, are carrying the appropriate safety gear, are not overloaded and are keeping to speed limits.

“On Sydney Harbour alone we are expecting up to 3,000 spectators who will be out enjoying the numerous events throughout the day including the Ferrython, tug and yacht race, harbour parade, tall ships race and fireworks display in the evening,

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

Mr Mitchell said that the biggest risks to safety include spectators not keeping a safe distance from other vessels, boaters not ensuring their boats are safe to ride, expired life jackets and being above the 0.05 alcohol limit.

“The best way to stay safe on the water is to keep a look out at all times and know where the restriction zones are. Being mindful of you vessel’s impact on other’s right to enjoy the waterway is not only required by law in many instances but more importantly, basic common sense and courtesy.

“And with high temperatures expected across the state, it’s important that people drink responsibly and stay hydrated.”

People are advised to be familiar with the different events planned at different times – particularly on Sydney Harbour.

Roads and Maritime is also advising boaters to ensure they know their vessel and don’t overload their boats with passengers or cargo beyond its safe carrying capacity.

“People need to do their homework before taking their boats out on the water, particularly for those who only take their boats out on special occasions. It’s critical your boat is water ready and that safety gear is in date and fully functional,” Mr Mitchell said.

Roads and Maritime Services will be working with Marine Police to manage the co-ordination of Australia Day festivities as well as the regulation of on water behaviour during what is the busiest day on the harbour.