In a boating emergency

Radio for help on

Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

Call MRNSW on

9450 2468

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News & Media

  • December 23, 2015

Boaters are reminded of changed boating conditions on Sydney Harbour this weekend for the start of the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Roads and Maritime Services advises vessel operators to plan their trip on the harbour well in advance of the 1pm start time.

A special event area will be established between Garden Island, Bradley’s Head, Middle Head, Cannae Point, North Head and Macquarie Light from 11.30am to 2.20pm. For vessels operating within the special event area during the listed times a six knot speed limit and minimum wash zone will apply.

From 12pm to 2.20pm an exclusion zone will be in place within the special event area. The exclusion zone will be marked by yellow buoys and patrolled by Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officers, NSW Police and other official control vessels.

From midday until the fleet clears the heads, spectator vessels must not enter the exclusion zone or anchor within 100 metres of the yellow buoys and are not permitted to operate under sail.

Non-powered craft such as kayaks, canoes, SUPs and surfboats are not allowed within 100 metres of the yellow buoys.

Recommended spectator vantage points include:

- Steele Point on the east and Taylors Bay on the west of the start line
- Chowder Bay, Obelisk Bay and waters to North Head in the western channel
- Watsons Bay, Camp Cove and around South Head in the eastern channel

On-water spectators intending to watch the race start but not follow the fleet to the heads should position their vessels on the western side of the exclusion zone.

On-water spectators on the eastern side of the exclusion zone will be able to follow the fleet down the harbour to the heads.

To watch the fleet sail through the heads it is advisable to move down the Harbour towards Watsons Bay and South Head before the firing cannon fires at 1pm.

A map with the special event area, exclusion zone and spectator areas marked is available at

Roads and Maritime reminds people to wear a lifejacket when boating, especially in vessels smaller than 4.8 metres when alone, at night or offshore.

Skippers are also reminded the alcohol limit on the water is the same as on the roads – 0.05 – and random breath testing applies on NSW waters.

For maritime safety information visit


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