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Christchurch Harbour

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


50:43'.6 N 001:43'.65 W Safe Distance Off, on the 2 m line.


Admiralty 2035, 2172, SC5601

Rules & Regulations

8 Knts speed limit in "The Run", 4 Knts Inside


Very Shallow, Large Drying areas, 4.5 knts+ in the Run on the Ebb. Breaking Seas on Bar

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Springs -0210 Dover, HW Neaps -0140 Dover MHWS 1.8m MHWN 1.4m MLWN 0.7m MLWS 0.6m   (links)

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General Description

Christchurch was once an important port but is now badly silted up, and visiting by boat is only possible for shoal draft craft on the top of the tide. The entry is complicated by a shifting bar and very strong tidal flows, as vast quantities of water from within the shallow harbour squeeze back out to sea through a very narrow area known as The Run.

The town itself is very beautiful, and the harbour is unspoilt and an important nature reserve with salt marshes, reefs and sand dunes. Some boat facilities can be found within, and the town offers useful shops, pubs and banks, as well as the Sailing Club. Other clubs are around the harbour.
Once through the rather intimidating entrance, the whole character of the place changes. This is a place where nature shows her more gentle side, and the owner of a shoal draft craft who makes the effort will be well rewarded. To be able to lay to your anchor in the midst of this beautiful scenery and chill out, whilst only been a few miles away from the money-grabbing hustle and bustle of the Solent is truly magical. ... read more


Christchurch Harbour is really only suitable for shoal draft craft, say 1.2m max, even at the top of spring tides.

It's important to note that Christchurch in common with many harbours in this area has a double high water (has four high waters a day). The Admiralty easy tide shows this clearly. At neaps the second high water tends to be higher, whereas on springs the first high water is the higher. The times given in the data in relation to Dover refer to the higher rise. Rain and river water have an effect on the depths within the harbour, and the speed of the outgoing flow through The Run. Even in normal circumstances it can flow between 2kn and 3kn, but in exceptional circumstances it can exceed 5 kn at times on the ebb. Christchurch Sailing Club have a good page for visiting yachts which adds to our description of the approach. ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The mooring possibilities within the harbour are either anchoring and drying out, a pontoon mooring at Christchurch Sailing Club, or a couple of drying boatyards. These are now described:

The channel makes a sharp swing to the West shortly after you pass a small jetty on your port hand side. The channel is narrow and it is important to follow the buoyage and not to stray.

Anchoring possibilities are very limited by the narrowness of the channel, and moorings taking up all the best spots. Basically anchor wherever you can leaving the fairway clear and not getting tangled with moorings. One suggested spot is opposite Grimbury Point. The shoal draft cruiser prepared to take the ground obviously has many more options. ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 3rd May 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in May 2016. Links have been updated and a new link to Google Street Maps added in the Approach Section
Update March 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Mar 2014
The channel Through the Run will remain unbuoyed until it is surveyed by the CHA prior to the 2014 season
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 23rd Jan 2013
The harbour notes for Christchurch Harbour were updated by Don T on 23rd January 2013. There are no major changes though, if you visit any of the links on this site, especially those showing aerial photographs, you should note the year their site was updated; the channel into Christchurch changes at the drop of a hat.
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