Watercraft Safety

Watercraft safety

Electrical safety around powerlines above AND below the water

Be aware that electricity can jump (arc) from powerlines to other objects such as boat masts, crane jibs, aerials and other tall structures and equipment in an instant.

Know the height of your vessel

Check the height on electricity warning signage and know the height of your vessel. If in doubt, don’t risk it, keep well clear and manoeuvre away from the powerlines.

Your vessel’s clearance height should be recorded on the NSW Maritime ‘Look up and Live’ sticker and affixed where the skipper can easily see it.

Launching and retrieving your vessel 

Be mindful of overhead powerlines when towing and rigging boats and launching and removing them from the water. Powerlines are often placed around boat ramps and marinas. Powerlines should be noted before entering and leaving the water and appropriate care taken.

Be aware of submarine cable crossings

Submarine cables cross river and creek beds and are indicated by large signs at the point of entry and exit. Anchoring is prohibited within 200 metres of submarine cables. In the event of an anchor becoming snagged near one of these signs, the anchor line should be cut and not retrieved to prevent exposure to electric shock or damaging the electrical infrastructure.

Location of powerlines

Use our online form to submit a request for overhead electrical network maps. It is the responsibility of the requester to review the maps and identify risk areas.

Contact information

To find out more about watercraft safety matters, call 13 23 91 and ask to speak to a member of the Public Safety team, or email public.safety@essentialenergy.com.au.

You can also contact NSW Roads and Maritime on 13 12 36 or www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime for further advice. If signs appear damaged, lost or powerline appears to be lower than sign height posted, please contact us on 13 20 80. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the latest SafeWork NSW Code of Practice ‘Work near Overhead Powerlines’, which can be viewed at www.safework.nsw.gov.au or alternatively, contact SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50 to purchase a copy of the Code of Practice.

Safety first

  • Know the height of your vessel
  • Don’t anchor near submarine cables
  • Obey the overhead crossing warning signs
  • Check for overhead powerlines when towing, rigging, launching and retrieving vessels
  • Ensure masts are fully lowered before relocating.

Download our Watercraft Safety fact sheet