Personal watercraft (PWC) restricted and prohibited zones

There are rules and locations for using personal watercraft on NSW waterways. Here's what you need to know.

personal water craft tour
The PWC hire and drive tour in operation on the river

Respecting zones

To keep everyone safe, there are exclusion and restriction zones for personal watercraft (PWC) on NSW waterways.

You must not drive a PWC in an 'exclusion zone'.

You can drive a PWC in a 'restriction zone' but there are rules for the way you drive it within that location.

Penalties apply if rules are broken.

Restriction zones in NSW

Learn the rules and locations where PWC are 'restricted' in NSW.

Rules for restriction zones

In restriction zones, PWC must not be used for 'irregular driving' within 200m of a river bank or shore.

This means they must be operated generally in a straight line within 200m of the shoreline.

Examples of irregular driving are:

  • driving in a circle or other pattern
  • weaving or diverting
  • surfing down or jumping over or across, any swell, wave or wash.

If rules are broken penalties apply.

Locations of restriction zones

In NSW PWC restriction zone rules apply to these waters (including tributaries):

  • Avoca Lake
  • Botany Bay
  • Brisbane Water
  • Broken Bay Bulbararing Lagoon
  • Cockrone Lagoon
  • Cooks River
  • Dee Why Lagoon
  • Georges River
  • Hawkesbury River
  • Manly Reservoir
  • Manly Lagoon
  • Narrabeen Lakes
  • Nepean River
  • Port Hacking
  • Prospect Reservoir
  • Terrigal Lagoon
  • Wamberal Lagoon
  • Woronora River

Sydney Harbour exclusion zone

You must not drive a PWC anywhere on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour).

This includes its tidal bays, rivers and tributaries, Parramatta River, Middle Harbour and Lane Cove River.

It includes all of those waters bounded by the high water mark and lying to the west of a line from the southernmost point of North Head to the northernmost point of South Head.

PWC are not permitted to be driven in the exclusion zone at any time, unless exempt. Penalties apply if rules are broken.

Prohibited areas in NSW

There are other NSW areas where PWC use is prohibited. PWC must not be driven in these areas at any time, unless exempt.

Check relevant boating maps for details. Penalties apply if rules are broken.

North Coast

No PWC are permitted:

  • Upstream of Lake Lismore on the Wilsons River.
  • Cape Byron Marine Park which includes Brunswick Heads South to Lennox Point

North coast boating maps

Tweed Heads area

No power boating including PWC (but excepting electric powered vessels) is permitted:

  • Southern and western side of Ukerebagh Island
  • Kerosene Inlet (opposite Tweed Hospital)
  • Wommin Lake (Fingal)
  • Wommin Lagoon (Fingal)
  • Cudgen Lake
Coffs Harbour area

No PWC are permitted:

  • Bonville Creek (all of its waters)
  • Corindi River (upstream from boat ramp)
  • Coffs Creek entrance (a signposted 'No powerboat' area)
South West Rocks area

No PWC are permitted:

  • Trial Bay (Gaol area) – No power boating including PWC in an area extending from the Arakoon camping area foreshore bordered by 3 yellow buoys indicating NO PWC or powered vessels
  • Manning Region
  • Knappinghat Creek

North Coast boating maps


No PWC are permitted:

  • Upper Williams River

Hunter/Inland boating maps

Hawkesbury/Broken Bay

No PWC are permitted:

  • Sydney Harbour exclusion zone
  • Botany Bay – Yarra Bay, Frenchmans Bay, Congwong and Little Congwong beaches
  • Port Hacking – Darook Park

Sydney boating maps

South Coast

No PWC are permitted:

  • Jervis Bay Marine Park sanctuary zones. See Jervis Bay Marine Park for information and zoning map.

Transport for NSW is conducting PWC ‘no go’ zone trials in the Eurobodalla area. The prohibited zones in place are:


No PWC are permitted:

  • Lake Mulwala - between the road and railway bridges

Murray/Inland boating maps

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