Extra night patrols on Sydney Harbour for Vivid

30 May 2014

Roads and Maritime Services and NSW Police Force will increase night patrols on Sydney Harbour for the remainder of the Vivid festival.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Principal Manager Sydney Graeme Dunlavie said the opening weekend of the festival had attracted volumes of boating traffic near the Sydney Harbour Bridge normally reserved only for the biggest events of the year.

“The unseasonally good weather we have been experiencing and interest in the festival saw large numbers of recreational craft mixing with ferries and commercial vessels,” Mr Dunlavie said.

“If you’re the skipper of a recreational vessel, regardless of the size, you need to give way to ferries and not impede traffic near Sydney Cove and King Street Wharf. Recreational vessels are not to enter Sydney Cove.

“Skippers also need to be aware of the transit zone under the the Sydney Harbour Bridge which extends from Kirribilli Point to Blues Point.

“There’s a 15 knot speed limit through this area and absolutely no stopping, anchoring or obstructing the passage of ferries and commercial vessels.

“Skippers need to keep a proper lookout at all times while transiting through this area and should not be distracted by Vivid shows as there’s a heightened risk of collision.

“Roads and Maritime will add extra weekend night patrols until Vivid concludes at the end of the long weekend.

“Boating Safety Officers and officers from Marine Area Command will be out in force monitoring activity between Sydney Cove and Darling Harbour including the transit zone. Skippers who are in breach of the navigation rules will be fined.

“Skippers are also reminded Cockle Bay is closed to all boating traffic from 5pm to 11.30pm until 9 June for the Vivid festival.

“The best vantage points are Lavender Bay, Goat Island, west of Blues Point and north of Kirribilli Point where anchoring is possible as long as vessels are not blocking navigation channels,” Mr Dunlavie said.

Marine Area Command Crime Manager, Detective Inspector Darren Schott, said with extra boats and pleasure craft expected on the harbour, skippers are reminded of their responsibilities.

“Many people have taken to the water for a different view of Vivid Sydney, however, it is important for skippers and their passengers to follow the direction of police and Maritime to keep the harbour safe for all afloat,” Det Insp Schott said.

“As the skipper of a vessel, you are responsible for ensuring it is safe to go out and have all the required safety equipment on board. It also important to show the appropriate navigational lights at night.”

“In addition to general patrols, police and Maritime officers will be conducting safety checks and will issue fines for non-compliance,” Det Insp Schott said.

Mr Dunlavie said it was also important for all boaters to know when to wear lifejackets when boating.

“During the past decade, nine out of 10 people who drowned while boating in NSW were not wearing a lifejacket.

“We want to see people get into the habit of putting on a lifejacket in the same way they put on sunscreen - it is simple and could save a life.”

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