Exclusion and restriction zones on NSW waters

Check maps and keep a lookout for restriction and exclusion zones for vessels on NSW waterways. These include swimming, event and port zones.

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Respecting restriction and exclusion zones

Some areas of NSW waterways have restrictions and exclusions. Before you go out, plan where you want to go and check maps or charts. See Boating maps.

When you're on the water, keep a lookout for signs, such as 'No Boating Zone' signs.

Swim, surf and event areas

Swimming areas and surf zones

To keep people in the water safe, some shores have swimming areas that extend 60m into the water. Signs mark these areas.

There are also designated swimming areas in surf zones. These extend 500m from the shore between surf patrol flags or signs.

Powered vessels, including sailing boats over 5.5m long and personal watercraft (PWC), must keep a minimum distance from these areas – see Safe distance.

Areas for organised events

All vessels must keep a safe distance from areas being used for organised aquatic events. These include competitions, races, displays, regattas and exhibitions in sections of waterways normally available to the public.

To get exclusive use of a section of a NSW waterway to run an organised event, you must apply for an aquatic licence – see Applying for an aquatic licence.

For a list of aquatic licences and special events on NSW waterways, see Marine Notices.

You do not need an aquatic licence for organised sailing events that are low-risk and have minimal impact on other vessels and people. These events can only take place in designated aquatic activity areas and you must complete a Sailing Event Notification form. See Sailing Event Notification System.

Ports and vessels

Be aware of exclusion and restriction zones relating to ports and vessels including seaplane take-off areas, naval zones and personal watercraft restrictions.

Kiteboard and sailboard exclusion and restriction zones

Sydney Harbour is an exclusion zone for kiteboards. Sailboards are also restricted in many areas within the harbour. Check maps and signage.

Seaplane take-off areas

Keep well clear of take-off areas for seaplanes.

These include Pittwater off Station Beach, and Rose Bay on Sydney Harbour. These areas are marked by signs to the north and south of the seaplane wharf.

Seaplanes use tourist locations on the north and south coasts of NSW.

Sydney Harbour

Everyone using the water on Rose Bay should access the Rose Bay best practice guide (PDF, 373.38 KB) developed to improve safety for seaplanes and vessels in this area, and outline maritime regulations.

Keep a safe distance from seaplanes

When taking off and landing, seaplanes must give way to all vessels. However, they are restricted in their manoeuvrability and cannot move quickly on the water. Where possible, keep a minimum distance of 60m from the front of a seaplane and 30m from the back.

Port restricted areas

Some waterways, wharves and marine installations have access restrictions, for example, near airports.

You must not go within 100m of wharves and installations used to ship or store oil, inflammable liquids, dangerous goods or explosives. Check Boating maps and keep a lookout for signage.

Naval vessels

All vessels must keep a minimum distance from the 'moving exclusion zones' around naval vessels when they are underway or at anchor – see Safe distance.

Personal Watercraft

See Personal watercraft restrictions for information on restricted and prohibited zones for Personal Watercraft (PWCs) in NSW.

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