Lit Vessels Parade

The Lit Vessels Parade will see Sydney Harbour’s commercial vessels and watercraft lit with vibrant colours which will form part of the Australia Day Live TV broadcast.

Information and Expression of Interest

Australia Day Live

Australia Day Live is a two-hour concert at the Sydney Opera House forecourt that is broadcast live nationally on ABC TV and ABC iview. At key moments during the outdoor show, Circular Quay becomes the stage for activations that are synchronised to live musical performances which incorporate a flotilla of yachts, tugs, jet skis, fly-boarders, lit vessels, and spectacular choreographed fireworks and projections on the sails of the Opera House.

Lit Vessels Parade

Registrations close 17 November 2023

The Lit Vessels Parade is a wonderful opportunity for Sydney Harbour’s commercial vessels and watercraft to be lit up with vibrant colours to form part of the Australia Day Live TV broadcast. Participating vessels will be rigged with lights within a managed area and then participate in key elements of the program to form a vibrant and colourful addition to the evening broadcast. These participating vessels will gain exclusive access to the managed viewing area and exclusion zone within the event.

Vessels invited to participate in the Lit Vessels Parade will take up their allocated position within the exclusion zone at 7:25pm, and will depart at 9:45pm.

Following the success of previous years’ Lit Vessels Parade, the NSW Premier’s Department is seeking Expressions of Interest from commercial vessels to take part in the Australia Day Live Lit Vessels Parade for 2024.

The vessels expressing interest must satisfy certain criteria and will then be evaluated by a selection panel in order to be invited to participate. As the number of spots is limited, a ranking score by the selection panel will be utilised to invite those selected vessels to participate. These vessels will have the opportunity to market and sell onboard tickets to the event. Guests onboard will have the opportunity to be a part of the show and enjoy a close-up view of the fireworks, projections and on-water displays.

The selection process will place significant weighting in the ranking score on the proposed Lit Vessels LED light display and design that ensures the natural outlines of the vessel are to be fully incorporated and enhanced by the LED string installation.

Submissions to participate in the Parade must include a clear schematic of the proposed LED light design displayed on the vessel.

Cost to Vessels

The NSW Premier’s Department is subsidising the cost of the control system to vessel operators. This covers the control system which synchronises the lighting display to our program. Vessel operators must meet their own costs for the lights, installation and removal.

Participation fee for 2024:

  • The fee will be set at $2.50 per survey passenger number onboard the vessel
  • A minimum participation fee of $600.00 per vessel will apply
  • A maximum fee of $1,750.00 per vessel will apply.


By participating in this activation, vessel operators will receive the following marketing benefits:

  • Participating operators will be promoted on the Australia Day website and marketing channels.
  • Vessels, their crew and guests will gain an exclusive view of the event in the allocated managed area, as well as taking part in the parade within Circular Quay.
  • Australia Day Live will be broadcast on ABC TV live and on iView to an audience of more than 1 million viewers nationally, with the Lit Vessels Parade considered a performance as well as back-drop during the event
  • Premier’s Department will provide a short promotional video and photographs of previous events that operators can use to promote ticket sales through their own channels.
  • After the event, the Premier’s Department will request vessel operators to provide anonymised ticket sales numbers and postcode data if available.

Map of Exclusion Zone and Lit Vessels Managed Area

Not to be used for navigation – for indicative purposes only.

Expression of Interest Process

Vessels must submit the Registration of Interest Form by including all required documentation as outlined by 17 November 2023.

Registration of Interest Forms received after the deadline, or do not include all the required information, will not be considered for inclusion in the Australia Day Live Lit Vessels Parade for 2024.

Vessels will be informed whether their application is successful by 30 November 2023

Registration Acknowledgement 

By submitting this application, the vessel operator acknowledges that the NSW Premier's Department at its absolute discretion reserves the right to accept or reject any application. Submission of an application does not guarantee an entry in the Lit Vessels Parade for 2024.

  1. The operator/master agrees to the Australia Day Live Lit Vessels 2024 Terms and Conditions .
  2. Requirement for confirmation of attendance by the Master to the compulsory Master’s Briefing to be in person on Wednesday, 17th January 2024 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm AEDT.
  3. Only one vessel from the same Company/Operator or associated entity will be invited to participate for the Australia Day Lit Vessels Parade 2024, however a Company/Operator may submit multiple vessel registrations. Should the registrations submitted by the due date be under subscribed, The Premier’s Department reserves the right to directly invite vessels to participate.
  4. The exclusive managed area is limited by space available to Lit Vessels. As a result, the selection panel will take the size of the vessel into account to ensure a diversity of vessel lengths within the allocated area.

Assessment Criteria 

Registration of Interest Forms will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Suitability and capacity of each proposed vessel to participate in the activation
  2. Provision of current Certificate of Survey and P&I insurances for each vessel
  3. Demonstrated participation in previous organised major aquatic event. Note: Participation in previous New Year’s Eve, Australia Day Live and other vessel lighting installations is not a requirement, however is considered a benefit to the Operator for this event. 
  4. Suitability of the proposed light design (provision of the lighting design schematic of your vessel must be included in your additional documentation) and assessment of your design will be based on:
  • The cohesive look of the event
  • The volume of lights and the area of vessel that is covered
  • Conformance to the Lighting System Requirements as documented below
  • Creative approach to the lighting design concept
    • RGB lighting system with the lighting design that as a minimum showcases the entire natural lines and shape of the vessel

Lighting System Requirements 

Pebble or Pixel Lights are the recommended lights for use as part of Australia Day Live Lit Vessels Parade for 2024, however each vessel is welcome to provide their own system that conforms with the creative guidelines including:

  • Ability to be connected to the provided control box (so the vessel can sync with the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and other lit buildings and performers)
    • Either DMX or Art-net Control system is required
  • The number of and intensity of the lights on the boat
    • RGB controllable Pebble or Pixel Lights
    • At maximum of 250mm spacing
    • Minimum 0.33 Watt per light fixture
    • Given the complexity of the system it is suggested you seek advice from a lighting system supplier / designer. The following suppliers:
      • Minleon Ph: 0499 551 080
      • 32 Hundred Lighting Ph: (02) 9771 9483

Successful vessels are required to source their own lights and drivers (as required). Should a vessel choose to use an equivalent product, this must meet the specifications as outlined above. This is to ensure all vessels look uniform and work under the same set of instructions.

Information regarding the incorporation of a central wireless control will be provided to successful vessels.

Premier’s Department will work to assist invited successful vessel operators on the design and supply of lighting for vessels if required. Please ensure you procure your lights well in advance, as they will likely take some time to manufacture and install. You must submit your vessel’s lighting rope design as part of the registration of interest application.

Testing of these light systems onboard the vessel will commence from mid-December and must be installed and ready for testing prior to Friday, 12th January 2024. Failure to meet these requirements will result in a vessel being removed from the Lit Vessels Parade.

Example of the ideal volume and placement of lights


Australia Day in NSW Partners