Electricity crossings of NSW navigable waterways

This system for electricity crossings of NSW navigable waterways is designed to promote safety and awareness for boaters.

About the system

This system is designed to promote safety in the vicinity of electrical cables that cross navigable waters. It was developed by Transport for NSW (Maritime), together with the electricity network operators and their regulator (the Department of Water and Energy).

While there are relatively few incidents involving crossings on navigable waters, the consequences when they do occur can be severe. So it’s important to manage these risks appropriately.

In an initial phase, the overhead crossings that pose the greatest risk to navigation safety will be modified by the electricity network operators, to reduce risk to acceptable levels. Then, where necessary, the remaining crossings will be progressively modified, to reduce the risk to acceptable levels.

Network operators

A network operator is an agency which operates an electricity distribution network comprising electricity cables and their supporting overhead structures, such as towers, poles, and submarine cables.

The major network operators in NSW are Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Essential Energy and TransGrid.

The new system is based on managing the risks involved in crossings, particularly overhead crossings.

Under the new system, the network operators are required to undertake research into vessel traffic patterns and movements when planning a new overhead crossing. They’ll therefore consult with Transport, local boating industry operators and waterway user groups on such occasions.

They’ll use this information to determine the appropriate type of crossing (ie submarine or overhead), the appropriate location and, if an overhead crossing is to be constructed, the required height. They’ll then be required to place signage designed by Transport, at the crossing and at any boat ramps within 5km of the crossing.

Existing crossings and their signage will progressively be examined and upgraded where necessary, to ensure that they meet the new safety requirements.

The network operators are also required to undertake regular inspections and maintenance of the crossings and their associated signage.

Your responsibilities

As a vessel operator, you must:

  • Know the height of your vessel above the waterline.
  • Keep a good lookout for crossings and their associated signage and comply with the messages on the signage.
  • Be particularly careful during the change-over period from the old signage to the new signage.

You’re also encouraged to:

  • Attach the crossings sticker to your vessel near the steering position as this will help you remember the height of your vessel above the waterline.
  • Report overhanging vegetation or any other problems concerning crossings to the network operators or Transport, as soon as possible.

Signs and stickers

Educational stickers are designed to help vessel operators navigate safely under overhead crossings.

The sticker lists some key things to remember about crossing safety and allows. If used properly and placed near the steering position, the sticker will remind you and advise others, of the height of your vessel above the waterline.

When you read the height displayed on the new overhead crossing warning sign and compare it with the sticker, you’ll easily be able to tell whether your vessel can navigate safely under the crossing.

Stickers are available from any service centre and from boat dealers, marinas, clubs and associations.

Crossings signs will progressively replace existing signs. Signs will be placed at boat ramps. Familiarise yourself with the signs below, so you know what to look for.

Overhead crossing warning sign – this sign warns that there are electrical cables overhead and advises of the maximum vessel height which can safely navigate under the crossing. There will be four of these signs located underneath overhead crossings – two on each bank, oriented at 45° to the bank.overhead crossing warning sign yellow graphic and text Warning power lines maximum vessel height XXm
Supplementary flood sign – this sign will be installed with all overhead crossing warning signs on waterways which are subject to flooding. It advises that clearances marked on the overhead crossing warning sign are reduced during flood conditions.text sign - Clearance reduced in flood
Advisory overhead crossing sign – one of these signs will be placed at each launching ramp on the waterway that’s within 5km of an overhead crossing. It advises that there are overhead electricity cables crossing the waterway and that you need to know the height of your vessel.overhead crossing warning sign yellow graphic and text Warning power lines maximum vessel height XXm
Submarine crossing sign – this sign advises of the location of submarine electricity cables. It also advises that there are penalties for anchoring within 200m of the submarine crossing. There will be one sign on each bank parallel to the bank.submarine crossing sign - Anchoring prohibited within 200m of submarine cables. Penalties apply
Know your vessel height sticker – Transport encourages you to place this sticker near the steering position of your vessel. The sticker allows you to see, at a glance, the height of your vessel above the waterline, making it easier to interpret overhead crossing warning signs. It also has some hints on navigating in the vicinity of crossings and an information line number.Know your vessel height sticker - Look up and live. Your vessel clearance is XX.Xm above the waterline

View or download a larger version

Crossing advisory sign – placed at boat launching ramps to warn that there are crossings of the waterway in the vicinity. This sign may also be used by the network operators to warn of the dangers of striking overhead cables while rigging and manoeuvring in car parks.Crossing advisory sign - Power lines cross this waterway. Know your vessel height

Reporting damage to signs and crossings

Help us keep waterways safe by reporting any problems such as:

  • Signs that have been vandalised or washed away,
  • Signs obscured by overgrown vegetation or anything else, or
  • If it appears that a crossing is not in order for some other reason (eg. the banks have been eroded in a flood and the poles are leaning

Report the issue and location of the sign directly to the network operator indicated on the sign or to Transport on 13 12 56.


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