Home' Afloat : AFLOAT December 2015 Contents Take monthly with water December 2015 23
Sydney Harbour is about to become the centre of attention for a global
audience that can be measured in millions through summer due to an
impressive program of aquatic events.
The most iconic events are the Rolex Sydney Hobart yacht race which this
year is expected to have 111 boats at the start line near Shark Island on
Boxing Day, then there is the dazzling New Years Eve Fireworks and the
always popular Australia Day program.
Other significant events include the Canon Big Boat Challenge on 15
December and Sail Sydney regatta over 17-20 December.
Returning to the harbour following a successful inaugural regatta last year
is the Extreme Sailing Series. This event will run from 10 to 13 December
and involve a fleet of 12m catamarans racing around a tight, spectator-
friendly course east of the Opera House, in front of the Royal Botanic
Gardens and south of Fort Denison.
While a boat can provide an outstanding front-row seat to the action for
many of these events, there are also numerous waterfront locations, with
public access, where it is possible to soak up the atmosphere and action
on the harbour.
During major aquatic events special conditions apply as Sydney Harbour is
busy with craft of all shapes and sizes. These include special event areas
where speed and wash restrictions apply, and exclusion zones which are
out of bounds for recreational craft.
The skipper of any boat attending such events should consider the
• Check exclusion zone times and locations before heading out and
allow additional time to reach your destination as speed restrictions
may be in place;
• Maintain a safe speed and keep a proper lookout;
• Be mindful of your wash and its effect on other vessels, structures and
• Ensure you have the appropriate safety equipment and your navigation
lights are in good working order if you are intending to watch night
• Familiarize yourself with anchoring procedures and don’t anchor in
exclusion zones; and
• The sun and wind can exacerbate the effects of alcohol. Stay under
For more details, see Sydney’s Summer Aquatic Events 2015–2016 Boating
Guide, a free booklet from Roads and Maritime Services available from
Sydney boating clubs, marinas and specialist marine and outdoor retailers
as well as by download from the Roads and Maritime website.
Neil Patchett, Transport for NSW
The Extreme Sailing Series returns to Sydney Harbour in December.
Paddle craft are booming in popularity across
the country. In NSW it is estimated that there
are between 3000 to 5000 paddle craft sold
annually and there is an estimated 70,000
people who take part in this activity each year.
A recent paddle craft safety forum was held
involving regulators, manufacturers, commercial
paddle operators and paddler associations. This
forum followed a concerning number of paddle
craft related fatalities in Victoria.
In many of the fatalities in Victoria and in
other jurisdictions, including NSW, paddle craft
fatalities all too often involve the deceased not
wearing a lifejacket.
The growth in popularity also presents some
safety challenges as many paddlers are new
to boating and are generally unfamiliar with
responsibilities regarding the water traffic rules
and safe boating practices.
The key safety messages for paddlers are:
• Wear an appropriate lifejacket
• Increase visibility of the craft and yourself,
including the use of a white light at night.
• Know your ability and plan your trips
accordingly – paddling at times can be very
• Have the right equipment
• Know the boating rules
• Understand the conditions of your trip and
plan to suit the conditions.
The general boating public also needs to be
aware of the need for care and caution around
these craft, with the following safety messages:
• Keep a proper look out because paddle
craft are low profile and can be difficult to
• Keep a safe distance clear
• Keep the ‘wash’ – the waves generated by
a moving vessel – to a minimum to prevent
capsizing or swamping paddle craft.
More information is available at http://
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