Electricity crossings of NSW navigable waterways

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

About the system

Introduced on 31 December 2008, this system is designed to promote safety in the vicinity of electrical cables which cross navigable waters.

In an initial phase, the overhead crossings which 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.


What you need to remember

Below is a summary of important things to remember:

  • You need to know the maximum height of your vessel above the waterline and keep a good lookout at all times
  • A handy sticker is available for you to place near the steering position of your vessel. The sticker will help you to remember your vessel height
  • Crossings signs will progressively replace existing signs
  • Signs will be placed at boat ramps. The signs are displayed in the next section. Please familiarise yourself with them, so you know what to look for.

Signs and stickers

Name Image
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 - Roads and Maritime 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

Click for a larger version (PDF,470Kb).

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

Frequently asked questions

General questions about the new system

  • Roads and Maritime Services, the electricity network operators and their regulator (the Department of Water and Energy) have together developed a new system to promote boating safety on NSW navigable waters.

    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.

  • 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.

    There are currently five network operators in NSW. These are TransGrid, EnergyAustralia, Integral Energy, Country Energy and the Rail Corporation of NSW.

  • 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 Roads and Maritime, 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 Roads and Maritime, 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.

  • The new system commenced on 31 December 2008. Under this new system, all new electricity crossings are required to be planned, constructed, signposted and maintained.
  • The network operators will be progressively examine and upgrade existing crossings where required, and their signage. This is because there’s a large number of existing crossings in NSW and it will require some time to upgrade all crossings and signage.

Questions about the new signage

  • The new warning and advisory signs will appear progressively as new crossings are installed and existing crossings are modified and upgraded.

    Therefore, there’s a transitional period in which you’ll need to take extra care when navigating under an overhead crossing that does not have new signs.

  • There are several types of new signs. See the table for more information.
  • If a sign has been vandalised or washed away, or if the message is obscured by overgrown vegetation or similar, please report this as soon as possible to the network operator whose logo appears on the sign. Please provide the location of the sign when you report it.

    If it’s not possible to read the logo due to the damage, please report it to Roads and Maritime on 13 12 56.

    Also, if it appears that a crossing is not in order for some other reason (e.g. the banks have been eroded in a flood and the poles are leaning), please also immediately report the damage to the network operator or Roads and Maritime.

  • Yes. Under clause 21(5) of the Management of Waters and Waterside Lands Regulation – NSW, there’s a penalty of $80 for anchoring within 200m of a submarine crossing marked by a sign. The network operator may also require you to pay for any damage caused.

Questions about the new stickers and boating maps

  • Roads and Maritime has developed a new educational sticker to assist vessel operators to navigate safely under overhead crossings. The sticker lists some key things to remember about crossing safety and allows you to show the height of your vessel above the waterline.
  • 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 be navigated under the crossing.

  • Stickers are available from any Roads and Maritime registry or service centre and from boat dealers, marinas, clubs and associations.
  • Roads and Maritime Boating maps are progressively being updated to indicate crossing locations.

Questions about responsibilities under the new system

  • As a vessel operator, you’re required to:

    • 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 Roads and Maritime, as soon as possible.
  • For more information, contact Roads and Maritime on 13 12 56.
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