Marine Notices

Print Page=| A | A

Safety information for recreational boat users sailing in proximity to trading vessels.

Big Ships, small boats - Responsible boating in working ports.

The port of Port Kembla is a commercial working harbour and popular waterway for small recreational vessels however it is important that recreational vessels stay well clear of commercial vessels.

There are different types of trading vessels visiting the port such as bulk carriers, container ships, car carriers and oil tankers. These large vessels need safe unobstructed access to the port.

Knowing your responsibilities when you are close to trading vessels is essential to being safe on the water. Understanding the channels in busy harbours and ports will allow you to take the right course of action when you are near a large vessel.

All skippers and masters must be familiar with the NSW Navigation (Collision) Regulations 1983. The regulations contain further information regarding your responsibilities on the water near trading vessels.

(For further details see

Simple steps to avoid a Maritime Incident with A trading vessel

  • always keep a lookout for trading vessels
  • determine if the vessel is moving towards you or away from you
  • always keep a safe distance away from a large vessel - at least 60 metres
  • act early so you can move away from these trading vessels and also make sure that they can clearly understand what you are doing
  • always have your navigation lights on at night so other vessels can clearly see you
  • familiarise yourself with the commercial shipping channels and do not anchor/fish or position your craft in a shipping channel
  • stay clear of the channels at all times
  • be aware of areas of interaction (pressure and suction) in close vicinity of trading vessels and keep clear. The pressure zones are on the bow and at the stern, the midships area will have a tendency to draw vessels together particularly at higher speeds
  • be aware of wakes of trading vessels, particularly when the large vessel is in relatively shallow water and moving at speed.

Why can't trading vessels move out of the way?

The following applies to trading vessels when in the port:

  • they have little room to stop, turn or alter course within channels, their movements will be restricted because of their size, width of channel and draft.
  • most times they will not be able to deviate.
  • a trading vessel can take up to two nautical miles to stop or alter its course.

Visibility and line of sight

Visibility and line of sight are important factors which play a key role in avoiding collisions on the water with trading vessels.

From your position on the water you may have a clear view of the trading vessel. You may also assume that those on the trading vessel must also have a clear view of you.

Under federal Maritime Security Regulations, you must maintain a distance of 60 metres from vessels at berth or 30 metres from a berth/wharf when no ship is alongside.

» Top of Page » Print Page