Public ferry wharves
Transport for NSW helps to provide safe public ferry wharves for the NSW public. See more on wharf assessments and the rules around fishing on wharves.
What is a public ferry wharf
A public ferry wharf is a site used for the purposes of public passenger services provided by ferries.
A ferry is defined as any vessel which seats more than 8 adult persons and where there is payment of a fare or other consideration.
Public ferry wharves can include commuter wharves, such as Sydney Harbour ferry wharves, and wharves used by commercial operators such as charter or dive vessels throughout NSW.
How is a wharf assessed
Across NSW, there are about 265 public ferry wharves. All of them have been inspected by Transport for NSW to be confirmed as safe for use related to public passenger services provided by ferries.
To assess the safety of a wharf, Transport for NSW use both a checklist and the guidelines for the assessment of public ferry wharf safety.
- provide the necessary criteria and standards for public ferry wharf safety
- outline appropriate inspections and maintenance requirements
- establish an appropriate methodology for the ongoing compliance of public ferry wharves.
All public ferry wharves inspected must meet the safety compliance measures detailed in the assessment.
Failure to do so can result in the issuing of notices.
Notices and upgrades
Transport for NSW is able to generate notices under the Marine Safety Act 1998to owners of public ferry wharves.
The notices can include:
- an improvement notice – requiring remedial safety work to be undertaken
- a prohibition notice – barring any activity at that wharf that may involve a risk to the health or safety of persons using, or operating, public passenger services provided by ferries.
In instances where the assessor has determined that the risk or non-compliance is minor, a Defect Advisory Notice may be generated.
A Defect Advisory Notice requires the owner to provide a timetable and strategy for repairs to the wharf.
If the owner fails to comply with this notice, Transport for NSW would then issue a formal Improvement Notice or Prohibition Notice.
Clean, Safe Wharves initiative
The 'Clean, Safe Wharves' initiative was launched with the aim of implementing a consistent and coordinated approach to cleaning all wharves on Sydney Harbour.
The initiative came after various stakeholders identified the ongoing issues of anti-social behaviour, waste dumping and littering affecting all NSW public ferry wharves.
The initiative enables any member of the public to attend wharf cleanups anywhere in the harbour.
It has also been designed to try to find a balance for all parties. That includes those using public ferry wharves to fish.
Fishing on wharves
As fishing is an activity enjoyed by many people, it will remain allowed on most commuter wharves, provided anglers continue to fish safely and responsibly.
Fishing is allowed on most commuter wharves provided that anglers fish safely and responsibly.
On some wharves fishing is banned at all times of the day. Check for the signs on wharves where fishing is allowed.
Individuals who disobey the signs, or fish in prohibited areas may face penalties of $250, or $1500 if the matter goes to court.
Police and Transport for NSW boating safety officers monitor these sites and have the power to enforce the ban.
There is a 24/7 ban on fishing off commuter wharves at Circular Quay and Taronga Zoo.