Please note this page contains 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve information for reference only. 2013 Sydney New Year’s Eve boating information will be available closer to the event
Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the show-stopping landmarks on Sydney New Year’s Eve. Thousands of spectators take to the harbour to enjoy the Pre-Show Entertainment program, Sydney Harbour Bridge Effect, 9PM Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks Displays.
There will be a number of harbour safety restrictions in place on Sydney New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. It’s important for spectators on Sydney Harbour to adhere to the maritime restrictions, follow the instructions of official Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers and celebrate safely.
In the interest of public safety, an Exclusion Zone – marked by lit yellow buoys – will extend from Cockatoo Island in the west to Clarke Island in the east. The Exclusion Zone will be activated from 8pm on Sydney New Year’s Eve until 12.45am on New Year’s Day. No unauthorised traffic will be allowed inside the Exclusion Zone and there will be no access under the Sydney Harbour Bridge during this time.
The Exclusion Zone will remain active for about 45 minutes after the end of the Midnight Fireworks to ensure the safety clearance of the fireworks barges. Vessels must keep outside this area until the Exclusion Zone is lifted.
A maximum 6-knot no-wash speed limit will be in force between Cockatoo Island and Steele Point from 3pm 31 December 2012 to 2am 1 January 2013.
If you need to move your vessel because of an emergency, alert the operator of one of the on-water control vessels: NSW RMS, NSW Water Police or Marine Rescue NSW.
With so many small and large vessels in the dark, it’s important skippers use appropriate navigation lights for the safety of their craft and passengers.
Spectator vantage points on Sydney Harbour
Both sides of Sydney Harbour Bridge provide ample opportunity for on-water spectators. Comfortable boating improves as you move away from the Sydney Harbour Bridge-Farm Cove area into the calmer waters near the outer western and eastern fireworks sites (Cockatoo and Clarke islands). Recommended areas include:
• North-west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Clarkes Point, Manns Point, Balls Head, Berrys Bay, Lavender Bay.
• South-west of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Mort Bay, Ballast Point.
• North-east of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Neutral Bay, Shell Cove, Mosman Bay, Athol Bay.
• South-east of Sydney Harbour Bridge
Farm Cove, Woolloomooloo, Rushcutters Bay, Double Bay, Rose Bay.
Visit the Sydney’s Summer Acquatic Events Boating Guide for further information and to download a copy of the 2012 Sydney New Year’s Eve Harbour Exclusion Zone map.
Advice to spectators on Sydney Harbour
- Make it a safe night. Don’t take glass, know your limits, and look after each other.
- Maximum 6-knot no-wash in force between 3pm 31 December 2012 and 2am 1 January 2013.
- Move into position early, preferably well before sunset, as popular spots such as Farm Cove fill quickly.
- Do not arrive late and try to push in between anchored vessels and the buoy line. It’s unsafe and you will be moved.
- Exclusion Zone in operation from 8pm 31 December 2012 to 12.45am 1 January 2013. Collapse of the Exclusion Zone will be announced by Maritime Control on VHF channel 17.
- No traffic under Sydney Harbour Bridge from 8pm 31 December 2012 to 12.45am 1 January 2013 except for approved commercial vessels at 10pm.
- Remember, be bright – think safety at night. Use appropriate navigation lights.
- Do not use flood/spot lights at a height. These lights destroy the night vision of other skippers.
- Anchor clear of the Exclusion Zone buoys. Dragging anchor will not be tolerated. Do not allow your vessel to lie over the boundary line.
- Only vessels less than 15 metres in length should use Farm Cove.
- Allow small craft to position themselves at the Exclusion Zone boundary.
- When dropping anchor, keep 200 metres clear of submarine cables or pipelines.
- Rafting up will be permitted, but securing to the shore will not.
- Keep under the 0.05 alcohol limit if you are the master of the vessel.
- Don’t set off flares for fun. It is dangerous and illegal.
- The transfer/loading of alcohol or glass to boats will not be permitted via Man O’ War jetty, Farm Cove Precinct, Yarranabbee Park and Darling Point Park (McKell Park) wharves.
- Use of Man O’ War Jetty (Farm Cove) up to 3pm and wharves in the Circular Quay precinct are subject to approval from RMS. Unless authorised, there is no access to Man O’ War Jetty and Eastern Pontoon from 3pm 31 December 2012 until 6am 1 January 2013.
- Harbour Masters and Commissioners Steps close at 6pm, reopening at 1am.
- Families wishing to leave the harbourside east after the 9PM Family Fireworks should contact the nearest NSW RMS Boating Safety Officer. Call VHF 17 or Telephone 02 9563 8542 on the night or ask a harbour volunteer.