Sailing Event Notification System
In line with continued efforts by the NSW Government to reduce red tape, lower fees and improve administrative efficiency, Transport for NSW has introduced changes relating to the licencing of aquatic activities.
Transport for NSW has identified that organised sailing, sailboarding and kiteboarding activities (sailboarding activities) as generally low risk activities that have a minimal impact on other waterway users. Historically, Aquatic licences for sailing events have accounted for approximately one fifth of all aquatic licences and most are issued to clubs affiliated with a governing body. Standard conditions have applied to each licence and some local conditions have applied in certain areas. Processing the licences on an annual basis was identified as an unnecessary administrative burden and Transport for NSW developed the Sailing Event Notification System to allow sailing events to proceed without an aquatic licence provided standard conditions are complied with.
An order was published in the NSW Government Gazette on 20 March 2020 to exempt organisers of sailing events on NSW waters from the requirement to hold an aquatic licence. View the frequently asked questions.
In order for a sailing event to be exempt from the requirement to hold an aquatic licence, the following conditions must be complied with:
1. Impact on other waterway users
The exempt activity must not:
- require the exclusive use of a waterway (or part thereof).
- cause an unreasonable impact on the normal use of navigable waters.
2. Notification and permissions
the organiser of an event must:
- give a minimum of six weeks notification prior to the commencement of any proposed event by completion of the sailing event notification form.
- Ensure that events are confined to the sailing activity area described in the notification form, which should correspond to codes marked on the appropriate aquatic activity area map.
- make enquiries to identify all relevant Authorities (including Defence Forces, Water Police and Marine Park Authorities) surrounding the sailing activity area, and provide a copy of the notification form or details of the event a minimum of six weeks prior to the event. Evidence of such notification must be produced if required by an Authorised Officer. Organisers must comply with any additional conditions required by the Authorities.
- make enquiries to identify all impacted stakeholders surrounding the sailing event area, and provide stakeholders a copy of the notification form or details of the exempt activity a minimum of six weeks prior to the event. Evidence of such notification must be produced if required by an Authorised Officer.
- ensure that the written permission of the owner/occupier of any land (including Government and Local Government Authorities) which is intended to be used as a departure or arrival point has been obtained
3. Risk Management
the organiser of an event must:
- at all times ensure compliance with all applicable provisions of the marine and environmental legislation.
- must comply with any direction given by a Transport for NSW Authorised Officer involving the navigation of any vessel, the temporary or complete cessation of any event or the provision of safety control measures
- Ensure the event is conducted under World Sailing Racing Rules, Australian Sailing Annexes to World Sailing Racing Rules or any other set of sailing racing rules approved in writing by RMS prior to the commencement of the event.
- prepare an operational plan and risk assessment. This operational plan and risk assessment must identify appropriate risk mitigation methods for the duration of the event notification period and organisers must review and update these documents at least once every 12 months. A Transport for NSW Authorised Officer may require evidence of any such documentation and that a review has been undertaken within the last 12 months.
- ensure that an adequate safety briefing (including relevant details of safety procedures and risk mitigation methods as outlined in the operational plan and risk assessment) is given to all participants prior to the commencement of the event.
- give all participants a written warning describing the particular safety risks associated with participation in the event (note: the written warning may be incorporated with an application form, entry form or notice of race completed by the participant).
- clearly advise all participants whether or not their participation in the event with respect to any injury or loss is covered by a policy of insurance taken out by the organiser. This advice must be provided prior to allowing the participant to take part in the event.
- report any incident involving an injury or significant damage to Transport for NSW within 24 hours of occurrence using the incident report form available here. The Organiser must then report, in writing, the findings of an inquiry into the incident within 28 days of the incident. The Organiser must retain a copy of the written report for a minimum of six months and must produce the report to a Transport for NSW Authorised Officer on request.
the organiser of an event must:
- ensure navigation piles or buoys are not used as rounding marks
- ensure temporary buoys or marks are not laid in channels or fairways except where written approval has been given by Transport for NSW
- ensure temporary buoys or marks are not laid before sunrise and are removed from navigable waters before sunset on any day except where written approval has been given by Transport for NSW
- ensure all temporary buoys or marks display club identification marks, club pennant or other identifying club insignia
- ensure participants do not navigate between moorings whilst participating in an event except when transiting to and from the event area
- ensure participants maintain a minimum distance of 1 cable (185.2 metres) from all islands, headlands and charted hazards when operating in open waters
- ensure participants maintain a minimum distance of 500m from the bow and 30 metres from the side or stern of any seagoing ship that is underway.
Conducting an activity under this exemption indemnifies Transport for NSW from all liability associated with the exempt activity and releases Transport for NSW from any actions or proceedings of any nature that may be instituted in relation to the activity.
Area specific conditions
6. Coffs Harbour
The organiser must ensure that:
- activities are not conducted
- within a 60 metre radius of the Coffs Harbour boat ramp entrance, and
- within a 60 metre radius of the Coffs Harbour marina entrance.
- activities extending beyond the Coffs Harbour jetty structure maintain a 100 metre distance from the northern and southern perimeters of the harbour towards the harbour entrance.
- activities do not close the Coffs Harbour outer harbour or obstruct vessels entering the outer harbour.
- the Organiser must ensure that:
- the event is not conducted within a 600 metres radius of the Navy wharf.
- the Organiser must ensure that Sailing Event is not conducted within a 100 metre radius of the woodchip berth.
- The organiser must ensure that:
- turning marks for event activities are not placed within the restricted area east of "Nobbys Head’’ without the prior written approval of the Harbour Master for the Port of Newcastle.
- participants must not anchor in the restricted area east of "Nobbys Head”
Note: The restricted area east of "Nobby's Head" is the area contained within a three nautical mile radius of the Nobbys Head Lighthouse as depicted on Hydrographic Charts AUS 207 and AUS 208.
9. Port Kembla
- The organiser must ensure that
- participants maintain a minimum distance of 500 metres from the bow and 50 metres from the side or stern of any Seagoing Ship underway.
- participants rounding Flinders Islet must do so with the Islet to the vessels Port hand.
- participants must not make any passage between Martin Island and Big Island.
- The organisers of any event taking place within the limits of Port Kembla must contact the Port Authority of NSW Port Kembla (PANSW) Vessel Traffic Control (VTIC) and advise:
- when the first vessel in the fleet reaches abeam of the Bellambi Reef on course south to Flinders Islet and the estimated time of rounding of Flinders Islet.
- while the fleet remains within the Bellambi Reef to Flinders Islet precinct, the location of the fleet at intervals not less than one hour.
- as the last vessel heads north and reaches abeam of Bellambi Reef.
Note: The PANSW Port Kembla VTIC can be contacted 24 hrs on: (02) 4274 4571 or on VHF Channel 11
10. Sydney Harbour and Botany Bay
The organiser must ensure that:
- participants do not pass between the bow of any seagoing ship and a dedicated Port Authority of New South Wales escort vessel.
- participants maintain a minimum distance 200m from the bow and 30m from the sides or stern of any ferry underway.
- planned shipping movements, applicable navigational safety warnings within the sailing event area and the requirement to keep clear of ships and ferries are included in any safety briefing.
Note: Organisers can find the planned shipping movements on the Daily Vessel Movements page of the Port Authority of NSW – Sydney Operations website or listen to Sydney Ports VTS on VHF channel 13 in Sydney Harbour at five minutes past each odd hour and VHF Channel 12 in Botany Bay each even hour for shipping and navigational safety broadcast information.
- participants navigating in the vicinity of the safe water mark, 350m from Bradleys Head, must pass to the north of the buoy when proceeding westward, and must pass to the south of the buoy when proceeding eastward, or if that is not practicable participants must maintain a safe distance from other vessels.
Organisers of exempt activities taking place within the limits of the Port of Yamba must comply with the Harbour Masters Directions available on the Port website