Plan ahead to avoid anchor rage on Sydney Harbour this New Year's Eve

28 December 2016

Roads and Maritime Services is advising boaters to plan ahead for a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour.

Executive Director of NSW 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 and sizes requires careful planning to ensure there is no opportunity for anchor rage out on the water,” Mr 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 and the vast numbers of other vessels on the water and the six knot speed limit can slow down the journey.

“Some people anchor up to two days ahead for the prime viewing spots for the New Year’s Eve fireworks, it is one of the biggest challenges for Roads and Maritime Services to manage the on-water traffic.

"Skippers should make sure all their safety gear is on board, navigation lights are working and they avoid exclusion zones.

"Lighting checks and 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 and 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 and it is important everyone has a lifejacket available regardless of the size of the boat they are travelling in.

“It’s also essential for all skippers to observe important boating safety guidelines such as keeping a proper lookout and maintaining a safe speed.

"Unless it’s an emergency, boaters should never set off flares on the water – it’s illegal and dangerous.

“Roads and Maritime will coordinate the on water traffic management, including installing an exclusion zone of yellow buoys which will operate from 8pm on Saturday 31 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 and access under the Sydney Harbour Bridge will be prohibited. The speed limit for recreational vessels in and around the exclusion zone will be six 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 and ‘no glass permitted’ zones. Road closures may also be in place at many locations.”

Maps, exclusion zones and recommended vantage points can be found at

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