Line crossings on NSW waterways
Stay safe around line crossings, including overhead electrical cables, on NSW waterways. Information for boaters and line crossing providers.
Safety around crossings
It's important to manage risks around line crossings. There aren’t many incidents involving line crossings on NSW navigable waters. But there can be severe consequences if accidents do occur.
The information on this page is important for:
- people driving boats and other vessels
- crossing controllers planning or maintaining infrastructure in compliance with NSW marine legislation.
The information is based on guidance from Transport for NSW, electricity network operators and Standards Australia.
For vessel operators
As a vessel operator on NSW waterways, you must:
- know the height of your vessel
- always keep a good lookout for crossings and their signs
- follow messages on the signs.
You're encouraged to:
- Record the height of your vessel where it's easy to see near the steering position. This will help you remember your vessel height when approaching a crossing.
- Report problems to Transport on 13 12 56 (option 2) or the network operators as soon as possible. For example, overhanging vegetation.
Learn to recognise and understand the crossing warning signs shown on this page.
Penalties apply for anchoring within 200m of a submarine crossing marked by a sign.
The network operator may ask you to pay for any damage caused.
For network operators
A network operator is an agency operating an electricity or telecommunications distribution network. A network includes cables and overhead structures, like towers, poles and submarine cables.
When planning a new overhead crossing, network operators must:
- research vessel traffic patterns and movements
- consult Transport for NSW, local boating industry operators and waterway user groups
- use this information to determine the appropriate type of crossing (ie submarine or overhead)
- the appropriate location
- if an overhead crossing is to be constructed, the required height
- place signage designed by Transport at the crossing and at any boat ramps within 5km of the crossing.
Network operators must:
- ensure existing crossings and signs comply with the guidelines and NSW marine legislation
- undertake regular inspections and maintenance of the crossings and their associated signage.
Crossing warning signs
Overhead crossing warning sign
These signs warn there are electrical cables overhead. They indicate the maximum vessel height. This is so vessels can safely navigate under the crossing.
Four of these signs are located under overhead crossings – two on each bank, oriented at 45° to the bank.
Supplementary flood sign
This sign is installed on waterways subject to flooding. It's shown with all overhead crossing warning signs . It warns that the clearances shown on the warning signs are reduced in flood conditions.
Advisory overhead crossing sign
One of these signs will be placed at each launching ramp within 5km of an overhead crossing. It advises there are overhead electricity cables crossing the waterway and that you need to know your vessel height.
Submarine crossing sign
This sign indicates the location of submarine (underwater) electricity cables. It also advises there are penalties for anchoring within 200m of the submarine crossing. There will be one sign on each bank parallel to the bank.
Crossing advisory sign
This sign is placed at boat launching ramps to warn there are line crossings in the vicinity. The sign may also warn people rigging and manoeuvring in car parks there are overhead cables.
Reporting damage to signs and crossings
Help us keep waterways safe by reporting any problems such as:
- signs that have been vandalised or washed away
- signs obscured by overgrown vegetation or anything else
- if it appears that a line crossing is not in order for some other reason (eg. the banks have been eroded in a flood and the poles are leaning).
Report the issue and location of the sign directly to the network operator indicated on the sign or to Transport on 13 12 56 (option 2).