Two tug vessels escorting another vessel into Newcastle Harbour with Nobby's Lighthouse in the background
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  • Newcastle Harbour Frequently Asked Questions

    Why do ships sound their horns when entering/leaving Newcastle Harbour?
    "Ships are required to sound their horn for safety reasons under international maritime and federal government regulations."

    The relevant Australian Government regulation is the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Marine Orders (Part 30, Prevention of collisions).

    The relevant sections are:

    Rule 34(e):

    A vessel nearing a bend or an area of a channel or fairway where other vessels may be obscured by an intervening obstruction shall sound one prolonged blast. Such signal shall be answered with a prolonged blast by any approaching vessel that may be within hearing around the bend or behind the intervening obstruction.

    Rule 32(c):

    The term prolonged blast means a blast of from four to six seconds' duration.”

    Can I fly my drone over Newcastle Harbour?
    “A person must not operate an unmanned aircraft in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, another person, or property." Civil Aviation Safety Regulation 1998 – Reg 101.055

    Port Authority of New South Wales is responsible for providing pilotage services to commercial vessels utilising Newcastle Harbour. Marine Pilots are transferred to and from vessels off the coast of Newcastle by way of a helicopter transfer service. This helicopter transfer service operates from a helibase located on Dyke Point in Newcastle Harbour.

    The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) has seen incidents where the safety of the helicopter and its occupants has been compromised by drones operating in the area of operation used by the helicopter transfer service.

    The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has recently released guidelines for the use of drones.

    • You should only fly in visual line-of-sight, in day visual meteorological conditions (VMC). What does that mean?
      • No night flying (generally).
      • No flying in or through cloud or fog, and you should be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV, binoculars, telescopes]) at all times, (unless you operate under the procedures of an approved model flying association. Contact the MAAA for more information about flying FPV).
    • You must not fly closer than 30m to vehicles, boats, buildings or people.
    • You must not fly over populous areas such as beaches, heavily populated parks, or sports ovals while they are in use.
    • In controlled airspace, which covers most Australian cities, you must not fly higher than 120m (400 feet) above the ground.
    • You must not fly in a way that creates a hazard to other aircraft, so you should keep at least 5.5 km away from airfields, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites.

    Further Links:

    Who do I contact if there is pollution/debris in Newcastle Harbour water / on the foreshore/break walls/beaches in the harbour?

    For all oil spills or chemical spills in Newcastle Harbour water, or on the break walls or beaches, contact Port Authority of New South Wales emergency number:

    phone: +61 2 4829 3890

    For debris in the harbour water contact Port of Newcastle:

    phone: +61 2 4908 8200
    and/or Roads and Maritime Services
    phone: 13 12 56

    For debris or rubbish on harbour beaches above the high tide mark contact Newcastle City Council:

    phone: +61 2 4974 2000

    For debris or rubbish on harbour beaches from the edge of the water to the high tide mark contact Roads and Maritime Services:

    phone: 13 12 56

    For debris or rubbish along the foreshore contact Newcastle City Council:

    phone: +61 2 4974 2000
    OR Hunter Development Corporation
    phone: +61 2 4904 2750

    For debris or rubbish on the Southern and Northern break walls contact Port of Newcastle:

    phone: +61 2 4908 8200

    For debris or rubbish along the bitumen pathway between Horseshoe Beach to the base of Nobbys Headland contact Port Authority of New South Wales:

    phone: +61 2 4985 8222
    Can I access the berths where the ships are?

    There is restricted access to shipping berths in Newcastle Harbour for operational, security and safety reasons. Security in Newcastle Harbour is managed by Port of Newcastle.

    • Contact Port of Newcastle for more details on where/how you may access Newcastle Harbour:
    phone: +61 2 4908 8200 
    • Contact Hunter Development Corporation for more details on the mooring areas in the Honeysuckle area:
    phone: +61 2 4904 2750
    phone: +61 2 4940 8188
    I am going on a cruise/collecting someone from a cruise and want details of how to access the cruise ship/schedule/parking/customs/access?

    For all enquiries relating to cruise ships in Newcastle Harbour contact Port of Newcastle:

    phone: +61 2 4908 8200