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Blackwater (River) inc Tollesbury, Bradwell and Maldon

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


Nass Beacon 51:45'.84N 000:54'.84E


Admiralty 3741, SC5607

Rules & Regulations

Unknown, other than 8 Knts speed limit 250 m from the shore in the Maldon Area.


Much of this area dries out

Tidal Data Times & Range

Osea Island Dover + 0125 MHWS 5.3m MHWN 4.3m MLWN 1.2m MLWS 0.4m   (links)

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General Description

The River Blackwater forms a broad expanse that offers plenty of good sailing with reasonable shelter. For the main part there is plenty of deepwater, but the Marinas within are all accessed by tricky drying creeks.

There are various good anchorages to be had for even deep draft craft, and untold places where shoal draft craft could take the ground. The whole area is very much in favour with traditionalists...sailing barges, smacks and all manner of gaff rigged craft will be seen. Combine this with the several yacht clubs in the area, plus the three marinas and numerous craft on swinging moorings, the result is an interesting stopover for the visitor with plenty to see. ... read more


The visiting yachtsman or motorboater will find the problems in approaching the River Blackwater are pretty much the same as those involved approaching the River Crouch. At high tide the whole approach area is covered, and looks like one big grey expanse of water. Things are not as they seem and there are various channels and swatchways that need to be identified and be followed carefully.

This part of the world is extremely flat and featureless so you won't get much help from the lay of the land. The truly conspicuous Bradwell nuclear power station will probably be the only land feature you will see from a distance. All the channels are well marked by buoyage, but it is very easy to mistake one seamark for another with possibly serious consequences... the sands in this area (and the Thames estuary) are rock hard and unforgiving should you end up pinned on them by the wind. To make matters worse if you are approaching the Blackwater in the afternoon the sun will be in your eyes....Full pilotage details are now provided: ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

The various berthing and anchoring possibilities you will come across are mentioned in the order you will pass them.

First up on your starboard side are the moorings of West Mersea, followed by Tollesbury Marina. On you port side will be found Bradwell Marina.  Deeper into the river will be found Blackwater Marina and Heybridge Basin. In between are several possible anchoring spots. Drying berths may be obtainable in Maldon too. For full approach details and current visitors mooring prices plus details of the anchorage possibilities, expand this section: ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

1 comment
Update 2103
Written by dononshytalk | 28th Mar 2013
These notes were updated by Don T on the 28th March 2013. Where possible I've updated the prices and information has been included on how to contact the Tollesbury Saltings Ltd (who run the mudberths there) It is apparent that the sailing clubs and marinas in these reaches are being improved all the time and these improvements (where known) have been noted in the text.
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