Sydney Harbour superyacht guidelines

These guidelines are designed to help superyacht masters prepare for a visit to Sydney Harbour and to assist them during the visit.

Legislation, guidelines and definitions

These guidelines are to be read in conjunction with, and are subordinate to, NSW and Commonwealth legislation, as amended from time to time, and the information promulgated on relevant websites. In the event of any inconsistency between these guidelines and the legislation or information promulgated on relevant websites, then the requirements of the legislation and relevant websites take precedence.

For the purposes of these guidelines, superyachts are recreational vessels with an LOA of 30m or more that are used for private (non-commercial) operations.

Pilots and certificates

Vessels of any size and length used solely for recreation are exempt under the Marine Safety Regulation 2016 from the requirement to take a pilot or for the master to hold a Marine Pilotage Exemption Certificate or Certificate of Local Knowledge.

Despite there being no requirement for recreational vessels to take a pilot, superyacht masters may request this service for any passage within the harbour. A master is encouraged to request these services if in any doubt regarding the procedures on the harbour or regarding his/her ability to safely manoeuvre within the harbour.

In certain circumstances the harbour master may require a pilot to conduct the vessel on its movement into, out of or within the port.

If the vessel is to be engaged in commercial activity, including any form of charter, then the vessel must comply with the provisions of the Marine Safety Act 1998 and take a pilot as required.

Superyacht requirements

Superyachts are free to enter and move around Sydney Harbour subject to compliance with the following requirements:

  • Superyacht masters operate on Sydney Harbour in accordance with the requirements outlined in these guidelines.
  • Superyachts operating on Sydney Harbour, or within 5 nautical miles of the port limits, must at all times maintain a listening watch on VHF Ch 13, report to Sydney Ports VTS on VHF Ch 13 at the required times and follow all directions issued by Sydney Ports VTS.
  • The master is aware of, and complies with, the restrictions and all other requirements for operating on Sydney Harbour.
  • International and NSW Special Rules of the Road contained within Schedule 4 of the Marine Safety (General) Regulation 2016.

View or download the complete Sydney Harbour superyacht guidelines.

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