Penzance Harbour consists of an inner drying area, and a wet basin accessed through a gate only open for 3 hours or so each high water. Once inside boats can lay in complete safety at reasonable rates. The wet dock can be used to leave your boat unattended for a few days to go exploring ashore if bad weather delays your plans.
As the depths of water around the harbour area are shallow, in strong onshore winds the seas get very rough, breaking over the harbour wall. Obviously in these conditions Penzance cannot be classed as a harbour of refuge, and should not be approached. Newlyn provides the only alternative in the Mounts Bay area in these conditions, and even then it is wise to wait until high water before attempting entry.
Penzance town itself is by far the largest in the area and is rather colourful and full of character. It is a busy market town as well as being a popular tourist centre, and all provisioning needs can be met, together with good transport links.
There were plans afoot for a 200 berth marina in Penzance with all tide access, as well as MDL proposing another 195 berth marina nearby at Port Penlee, between Newlyn and Mousehole. At present the plans for Penzance have been shelved as the funding has been withdrawn and the there is not much movement on the conversion of the quarry at Penlee. It is understood from local sources that constructing a suitable entrance into the marina under the Mousehole road is causing some heartache. It is hoped to do some serious dredging in Penzance harbour itself but that will mainly effect the area beside the Ferry berth and the approach to the Wet Dock. ... read more
If approaching from the South take note of Gear Rock Beacon, an isolated danger mark, red and black with two black spheres as a topmark (Fl your (2) 10s). This should be left well to port, while aiming for a position to the east of the lighthouse at the end of the South Pier. Again, the white sector of the South Pier light shows the safe approach. ... read more
As you enter the wet dock you will be allocated a berth by the harbour master or his assistant. In the busy summer months you may well have to raft up, and the charges are £10 per day up to 10m and £15 per day between 10 & 15m and £20 per day above that and you get every third day free providing someone remains on the boat, and special weekly rates for unattended boats. This makes Penzance an attractive option should you need to leave your boat. Shore power is available on a card. ... read more