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Recreational Boating Around the Ports

Port Authority of New South Wales manages the commercial shipping requirements of Sydney's ports. Other areas of waterway usage, including recreational boating, legislative compliance and safety are addressed by Roads and Maritime Services.

Sydney Harbour is a busy commercial port where maritime regulations must be adhered to at all times. Access is restricted in the commercial shipping areas of Gore Bay, Glebe Island/White Bay, East Darling Harbour and the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

In conjunction with Roads and Maritime Services, we have developed Steer Clear - to help skippers understand their responsibilities to ensure safety afloat for all concerned. To read through some simple steps to stay safe near seagoing vessels, download the Steer Clear flyer.

Barangaroo Ferry Hub Notification - Safety Notice to Recreational Boaters April 2016 

Using the Harbour

(Kindly supplied by Roads and Maritime Services. For up-to-date information and further details contact Roads and Maritime Services)

  • Vessels must maintain a 30-metre distance from any other vessel or person in the water when travelling at or more than 10 knots.
  • Some Sydney Harbour Ferries display an orange diamond shape which grants priority over sail. At all times be aware of your speed and wash affecting other vessels or shore and navigate at an appropriate speed.
  • Stringent environmental controls are in place for Sydney Harbour. Absolutely no waste materials are allowed to be discharged into the harbour. There are also quarantine requirements for waste materials imported into Australia. Offensive noise is prohibited at all times.
  • Sydney Harbour is a strict No Pump Out Zone under Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) regulations. This means nothing can be discharged overboard, including black and grey water sewage (treated or not), bilge water and galley waste. Effluent must be retained on board in holding tanks and discharged ashore into suitable containers.
  • Jet skis are prohibited on Sydney Harbour.

All queries regarding recreational boating, such as navigation, non commercial, procedures, restricted access areas, wharves, bridge procedures, pollution and anchorage, should be directed towards Roads and Maritime Services via its website.

Harbour Events

Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful harbours in the world and is home to many special events including the New Years Eve and Australia Day celebrations.

Navigation policy on Sydney Harbour is controlled by the Harbour Master. Following consultation with relevant port users, the community and business groups, the Harbour Master establishes port procedures that will apply during major aquatic events.

Planning for individual events on and around the harbour rests with a range of committees and organisations, some of which have links below for further information.