by NSW Maritime
Strict boating safety controls will apply for the April 13 scuttling of the Ex-HMAS Adelaide off Avoca Beach on the Central Coast.
The Ex-HMAS Adelaide Artificial Reef Project is a government initiative to create a new dive site on the NSW Central Coast. The decommissioned Australian Navy escort frigate will be towed from Sydney to a position off Avoca Beach, where it will be scuttled, subject to weather conditions.
On the day of the towing:
Skippers must keep their vessels at least 200m clear of towing tugs and their lines and more than 200m ahead of the Ex-HMAS Adelaide and 60m from the side and the stern as the ship is being towed from Berth No.2 Glebe Island through Sydney Heads and north to waters off Avoca Beach.
The tow will take approximately eight hours weather permitting, travelling at around 4 knots, over the 31 nautical miles from Glebe to Avoca Beach.
While the ship is at anchor:
An exclusion zone of 200m around the ship will be marked with buoys fitted with yellow flashing lights once the ship is anchored to the spot where it will be scuttled. This will be extended to 1000m at 4pm on the eve of the scuttling. Vessels must not enter the exclusion zone.
On the day of the scuttling:
Going offshore brings its own risks and skippers need to be sure they have the skill to handle the conditions and their boat is suitable.
Every skipper should follow some basic steps which include the following:
Check the weather before going out;
Ensure your boat is suitable for the conditions;
Carry all the appropriate safety gear;
Keep a proper lookout at all times;
Do not overload; and
If in doubt, don’t go out!
Young people under 12 must wear a lifejacket. All people aboard vessels of less than 4.8m must also wear lifejackets when offshore.
There will be a 1000m exclusion (33 Deg 27.91/5 Mins South 151 Deg 27.38/7 Mins East) before and during the scuttling. The scuttling is scheduled for April 13, weather permitting. All craft must stay outside this zone. See this map for the official safety navigation exclusion zone.
NSW Maritime vessels will patrol the area to ensure all skippers comply.
An area outside the exclusion zone will be designated for commercial vessels.
After the scuttling, an exclusion zone of 200m around the vessel will be maintained until all post-scuttling checks have been completed and navigation aids installed.
The nearest boat ramps are at Terrigal Haven, Ettalong, Nora Head and Pittwater. Anyone thinking of launching at a ramp should ensure their vessel is suitable and check the conditions – if in doubt, do not go out.
Going offshore – safety precautions:
Because the scuttling will take place in coastal waters, going offshore increases the demands on skippers and their boat. Every craft has its limits and skippers should not take unnecessary risks.
Advice for boaters going offshore:
Check the weather before going out and, if in doubt, don’t go out;
Ensure your boat and all its required safety equipment is in good serviceable condition;
Ensure you have the required skills to operate a vessel offshore.
Check the vessel has enough clean fuel and fresh drinking water.
Carry the required safety equipment onboard
Children under 12 must wear a lifejacket; everyone on board a vessel less than 4.8m in length must also wear lifejackets when offshore
If going two nautical miles or more offshore, you must also carry a marine-band radio and a 406MHz EPIRB; and
Use your marine radio to log the trip with Marine Rescue NSW, detailing voyage plans including estimated time of return.
Please note, that the scuttling of the ship will be dependent on prevailing weather conditions.