Area Information

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North East England (St Abbs Head to the Wash, Pilot Notes and Charts)

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Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign

Waypoint

N/A

Charts

Tidal: NP251, NP252, NP 259 Navigation: Admiralty, 1192, 1191, 1190

Rules & Regulations

Various TSS Schemes, see text

Hazards

Strong Tides and Shipping in Humber, Most harbours unsafe to enter in Onshore Gales, Offshore banks, Gas Fields

Tidal Data Times & Range

Hull: MHWS 7.6m, MHWN 6.0m, MLWN 2.5m, MLWS 0.7m

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General Description

 

Use the "Navigation Chart" link to access Area Charts PLUS the NP series Tidal Stream Atlases

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Approach

Plan...This sector describes the E coast between St Abbs Head and The  Wash. The descriptive sequence is from N to S. Coverage ends at Wells.

General Remarks


Tides...Currents...Off St. Abbs Head, the S current begins at the time of HW at Dover and the N current begins about 6 hours before HW at Dover. These currents run strongly around the head, off which there is turbulence, especially when strong winds blow against the currents. Between St. Abbs Head and Berwick, the currents run regularly SE and NW along the coast. with a spring velocity of about 1 knot. Between Berwick and Flamborough Head, a weak current runs S off the coast. Its velocity is increased by strong and continuous N and NW winds. Winds from the S and SE reduce this current and, if strong and continuous, they may even reverse its direction.

In a position about 7 miles E of Berwick, the S current from off the E coast of Scotland meets the ESE current from the Firth of Forth. The combined current flows SSE in the direction of the coast. Likewise, the NNW current from off the E coast of England divides and runs N off the E coast of Scotland and WNW into the Firth of Forth. Farther S, between 5 and 10 miles from the coast, the currents begin later and are greater in strength. The spring velocity in each direction is 1.5 to 2 knots. Off Berwick, the coastal current begins about 45 minutes earlier than the offshore current, 7  miles E. Farther S, this difference increases gradually until it attains a value of 2 to 2 hours 30 minutes off Sunderland. Between Sunderland and Seaham, the coastal current changes rapidly and off the latter place, the coastal and offshore currents begin nearly simultaneously. These conditions continue until near Flamborough Head, where the coastal current is affected by eddies.

Signals...International traffic signals displayed at the majority of ports described within this volume are, as follows:
1. Three red lights displayed vertically indicate that vessels shall not proceed.
2. Three red flashing lights displayed vertically indicate that there is an emergency and all vessels must stop or divert according to instructions.
3. Three green lights displayed vertically indicate that vessels may proceed in one-way traffic.
4. Three lights displayed vertically, the two upper lights being green and the lower one being white, indicate that vessels may proceed in two-way traffic.
5. Three lights displayed vertically, the upper and lower lights being green and the centre light being white, indicate that vessels may proceed only when they have obtained specific instructions to do so.

Directions...The main coastal route leads in a general SE direction from the entrance to the Firth of Forth and continues through the channel lying between Dogger Bank (54°40'N., 2°20'E.) and the mainland.

Caution...Large numbers of fishing vessels may be encountered along this stretch of coast.
Caution, especially in low visibility, is advised in the offshore areas due to the presence of moving drilling rigs.

Numerous wrecks, some dangerous, exist along this coast; they mainly lie within 10 miles of the shore and may best seen on the chart. Visibility may be affected along parts of this coast, especially between the River Tyne and the River Tees, by industrial smoke haze. Numerous areas of spoil ground lie offshore along this coast and may best be seen on the chart. Numerous oil and gas fields lie off the coasts of Scotland and England and may best be seen on the charts.

St. Abbs Head (55°55'N., 2°08'W.), a bold promontory of dark rock, is located 11.2 miles SE of Barns Ness. It rises vertically to a height of 93m and the rock face of the cliff is broken into deep fissures. The head is separated from Cross Law, about 2 miles W, by a valley which causes it to appear as an island when seen from NW or SE. St. Abbs Head Light is shown from a tower with buildings, 9m high, standing on the head. A racon is situated at the light structure.

The coast S of St. Abbs Head is rugged and bleak. It is backed by high land, which rises boldly, and is mostly bare of trees, with only a few identifiable marks. A small boat harbour, fronted by rocks, is located 1.2 miles S of the head; the entrance faces N and is 6m wide. Anchorage...During offshore winds, anchorage can be temporarily obtained by small vessels in Scoughall Roads. The roadstead has depths of 9 to 11m, clay, and lies about 0.5 mile offshore, 3 miles NW of Dunbar.

Caution...An outfall pipeline, which may best be seen on the chart, extends 1.3 miles N from a point on the shore located 1.2 miles WSW of Dunbar. Its seaward end is marked by a buoy. A measured distance, marked by beacons, is situated close WNW of St. Abbs Head and may best be seen on the chart. It is reported (1999) that the beacons are difficult to distinguish from beyond 2 miles offshore and are no longer maintained.

Eyemouth (55°52'N., 2°05'W.)  stands on low ground at the S end of a shallow bay, 3 miles SSE of St. Abbs Head. It is situated at the W side of the mouth of the River Eye and backed by hills, 75m high. The harbour, which is used by a small fishing fleet, lies at the entrance to the river and is fronted by rocks. The entrance, which faces NW, lies between two breakwaters and is approached through a channel, 300m long and about 18m wide, indicated by a lighted range. The harbour, within which a depth of 0.9m is maintained, has depths of 6.1m at HWS and 4.6m at HWN. Small vessels with drafts up to about 4.6m draft can enter at HW. Local knowledge is recommended.

The coast S of Eyemouth is low, but it rises to a height of about 90m close N of Burnmouth.

Burnmouth (55°50'N., 2°04'W.), a small village, is situated at the mouth of a deep ravine, 2 miles SSE of Eyemouth. Dangerous rocks front the mouth and lie up to 0.6 mile offshore. The small harbour, which dries, is formed by a pier at the inner end of an opening in the rocks. It is used by fishing boats with local knowledge. The approach channel is indicated by a lighted range. A prominent television mast stands about 0.7 mile WSW of the harbour.

Between Burnmouth and Berwick, 5 miles SSE, the coast consists of steep banks and cliffs up to 19m high, which gradually decrease in height towards the S.
Rocks fringe the shore and extend up to 0.4 mile offshore. Lamberton Hill, 215m high, and Halidon Hill, 162m high, back this part of the coast and stand 3 miles S and 5 miles SSE, respectively, of Eyemouth. The border between England and Scotland is located about midway between Burnmouth and Berwick.

Berwick (Berwick-Upon-Tweed) (55°46'N., 2°00'W.) stands on the side of a hill which slopes down to the N side of the mouth of the River Tweed. The small towns of Spittal and Tweedmouth stand on the low ground at the S side of the river entrance.

See full small craft information for:

Berwick on Tweed (inc. Tweed Docks)

Tides...Currents....Tides rise about 4.7m at springs and 3.8m at neaps.

At a position about 1.5 miles E of the breakwater, the SE tidal current begins 10 minutes after HW at Dover and attains a spring velocity of about 0.8 knot. The NW current begins about 6 hours before HW at Dover and attains a velocity of about 1 knot. Within the river, the currents are fairly strong. Freshets may increase both the duration and the velocity of the outgoing current and reduce the incoming current correspondingly.

Depths...Limitations...The harbour, which is mostly used by coasters, consists of a tidal dock basin and a jetty, which are situated on the S side of the river. The entrance fairway over the bar is about 54m wide and has a depth of 0.6m. Ledges and foul ground extend up to 0.4 mile from the coast, N of the breakwater.

Aspect...The harbour, located at the mouth of the river, is entered between a breakwater projecting from the N entrance point and a low, sandy spit extending from the S entrance point. This spit acts as a natural breakwater. A bar, composed of sand and rocky boulders, lies between the spit and the head of the breakwater.

The town hall, with a spire, and two churches stand on high ground at the N side and are conspicuous. A prominent chimney stands on the S side of the entrance. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 13m high, standing on the head of the breakwater. The channel within the harbour, which is about 100m wide, is marked by buoys and beacons and is indicated by lighted ranges.

Caution...During the period of the outgoing current, particularly with freshets, entering or leaving the harbour is considered dangerous. It is reported that equally bright lights in the vicinity of the town may be mistaken for the navigation light at the head of the breakwater. Considerable shoaling may take place in the vicinity of the sands at the mouth of the river and at the entrance to the wet dock, especially after W gales. Due to these frequent changes, local knowledge is essential.


Berwick Bay (55°45'N., 1°55'W.) lies between the entrance to the River Tweed and the N end of Holy Island, 6.5 miles SE. It is the beginning of the most dangerous section of the E coast of England, N of the River Humber. For about 0.6 mile SSE of the entrance to the River Tweed, a sandy beach fringes the coast. Then for about 2.7 miles to Cheswick, it is fringed by a rocky ledge, the central part of which is backed by cliffs, 31m high. Then, a low beach fronts the shore and gradually extends seaward to where, at LW, it connects Holy Island to the mainland and forms an extensive area of sand flats. In the S part of the bay, several shoals lie up to 3 miles from the coast.

A conspicuous silo tower stands near the coast at Goswick, 4.8 miles SE of Berwick.

Directions...The coastal route leads about 14 miles SE from a position located ENE of Berwick to a position E of Longstone. It then continues for about 4 miles SSE to a position E of North Sunderland.

Holy Island to the Snook

Holy Island (55°41'N., 1°47'W.), moderately elevated, slopes to the SW and has scarcely a tree or shrub on it. The main body of the island is based on limestone rock which extends about 400m seaward on the N, E, and S sides. Extensive tracts of drying sand extend from the W and S sides of the island. A low and narrow ridge of sand hills extends W from the main body of the island and terminate at Snook Point. A causeway crosses the tract of sand, about 0.8 mile wide, between Snook Point and Beal Point on the mainland. A tower and a flagstaff stand about 0.4 mile E of Snook Point.

Emanuel Head, the NE extremity of Holy Island, is formed by a cliff, 3m high, on which stands a conspicuous stone beacon, 15m high. Castle Point, the SE extremity of the island, is low and fronted by rocks. Holy Island Harbour, secure and well-sheltered, is situated at the S side of the island. It is very small, but appears large at HW. The entrance lies between Castle Point and Old Law, a narrow islet 0.8 mile SW. The harbour can sometimes be entered during E winds, when Berwick is closed.
It is mostly used by fishing vessels, especially during the herring season, which lasts from June to September. There are no alongside berths except for a jetty which is used to land fish. Vessels may anchor within the harbour, in depths of 5 to 7m, sand. There are depths of 2.1 to 2.7m over the bar at the entrance; the bottom is chiefly stones covered by kelp with patches of sand. A stony patch, with a depth of 1.8m, lies close S of the entrance fairway, which is indicated by sets of range beacons. Pilots are unavailable.

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Farne Islands Anchorages and Lindisfarne (Holy Island), brief notes on Seahouses Harbour

Holy Island Castle, surmounted by a flagstaff, stands on a hill close WNW of Castle Point and is conspicuous. Heugh Hill, on which a beacon stands, is located 0.5 mile farther W. It is rocky and covered with short grass. A church, with a prominent belfry, stands in the village of Holy Island, close W of this hill.

Goldstone Channel leads between St. Nicholas Rock and Goldstone, on the E side, and Outer Wingate and Plough Seat Reef, on the W side. It has a least depth of 8.2m, but should only be used when the aids are plainly visible as the depths are irregular and the tidal currents strong.

Black Rocks Point (55°37'N., 1°33'W.) is located on the mainland 3.7 miles SSE of the SE extremity of Holy Island. A sector light is shown from a building, 9m high, standing on the point and indicates the inner channel.

Bamburgh Castle is situated 0.5 mile SE of the point. It stands on a rock, which rises  abruptly from a flat beach, and is conspicuous. The village of Bamburgh, with a prominent church tower, is situated close W of the castle.

Caution...The E coast of Holy Island is fronted by several dangers through which the approach channel leads. St. Nicholas Rock, with a depth of 6.1m, lies about 1.7 miles ESE of Emanuel Head; the sea often breaks heavily over this danger. Goldstone, a rock which dries 1.5m, lies about 2 miles ESE of Emanuel Head and is marked by a buoy. Stiel Reef, with a depth of 5.8m, lies close ESE of Goldstone. Guzzard, a shoal, with a least depth of 4.9m, lies about 0.5m mile SSE of Goldstone and Tree o’ the House, another shoal, with a least depth of 8.2m, lies about 0.6 mile farther S. Outer Wingate, a shoal, with a depth of 3.4m, lies about 1 mile SE of Emanuel Head and the sea generally breaks over it. Minscore, with a depth of 4.3m, is connected to it. An isolated shoal patch, with a depth of 8.2m, lies about 1.5 miles SE of Emanuel Head. Plough Seat Reef, which dries 0.9m, and Wingate, a group of rocks with depths of 1.5m, lie close S of Outer Wingate. Plough Rock, marked by a buoy, lies 1 mile SSE of Emanuel Head.

The Farne Islands (55°38'N., 1°37'W.) are a chain of rocky islands, reefs, and shoals which extend up to 4.3 miles NE of Black Rocks Point. The chain is divided into two groups by Staple Sound. Due to a considerable tidal range, the islands present very different aspects at high and low water.

Staple Sound, which separates the outer group of islands from the inner, is seldom used. It is not marked and the tidal currents attain velocities of up to 4 knots at springs.
Inner Sound, which leads between the islands and the mainland, has a least width of about 0.5 mile and is used as an inshore route. The islands are designated as a nature reserve and landing is subject to restrictions. During the breeding season, May through July, many puffins and grey seals may be encountered.

The Farne Islands...Outer Group....Longstone (55°39'N., 1°36'W.), so called from its shape, is the outermost of the Farne Islands. It appears as one island at LW, but is divided into several parts at HW. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 26m high, standing on the island. Knivestone, a rock which dries 3.4m, is located about 0.5 mile NE of Longstone. Whirl Rocks, with a least depth of 0.6m, lie within 0.2 mile N of Knivestone. Northern Hares, 3.7m high, is the northwesternmost islet of the outer group and is located 0.2 mile NW of Longstone, to which it is joined at LW.

Staple Islet, located 0.7 mile SSW of Longstone, is the southwesternmost islet of the outer group. A prominent tower stands on this islet and its S side is formed by a bold cliff.  Several detached rocks, known as The Pinnacles, lie close E of the cliff and have the appearance of broken pillars. Another prominent tower stands on Brownsman Islet, 0.2 mile N of Stable Islet. Crumstone, located 0.9 mile E of Staple Islet, is a flat, black rock. Callers, a reef which dries 2.1m, extends 0.3 mile WNW of Crumstone.
Fang, a spit with a depth of 5.2m, projects S from Crumstone.

Caution...Strong tidal currents and numerous eddies exist seaward of Longstone in the vicinity of Knivestone and Whirl Rocks.

The Farne Islands...Inner Group...Farne Island (55°37'N., 1°39'W.), located 2.2 miles E of Black Rocks Point, is the nearest of the group to the mainland. It is the highest of the inner group and a bold cliff, 8m high, rises on the SW side and gradually slopes NE. An old tower building, with a house nearby, stands on the NE part of the island.
A light is shown from a conspicuous tower with a dwelling, 13m high, standing on the SE extremity of the island. Two islets, with rugged cliffs on their SW sides, lie close E of Farne Island. Bush, located 0.7 mile E of Farne Island, is a rocky ledge which dries in parts. Islestone Shad, lying about 0.7 mile NNE of Farne Island, is a rocky patch, with a depth of 4.3m, over which the sea breaks in bad weather.

Glororum Shad, lying about 1 mile N of Farne Island, is a shoal with a depth of 6.1m.  Megstone, located 1 mile NW of Farne Island, is a prominent black rock, 5.5m high. Oxcar, a rock which dries, is located 0.5 mile NE of Megstone. Swedman, a drying reef, lies about 0.4 mile W of Megstone and is marked by a buoy.

Caution...It is preferable for all but small coasting vessels to pass outside the Farne Islands.   To navigate the Inner Sound with safety requires fine weather and local knowledge. The area lying E of Longstone is a focal point for shipping and depths of 45m to 55m lie within 1 mile of the dangers E of the outer group. Vessels are advised, during poor visibility, to pass at least 3 miles E of Longstone, make due allowance for the tidal current, and remain in depths of 65m or greater.

The Snook (55°35'N., 1°38'W.), also known as North Sunderland Point, is located 3.5 miles SE of Black Rocks Point. It consists of a cliff, 9m high, which has an extensive foreshore of parallel ledges dipping to the S. Grimstone, a detached rock which dries, lies about 0.2 mile E of the point. The Falls, a continuation of the parallel ledges, lies 0.2 mile SSE of Grimstone and is marked by a buoy.

The land in the vicinity of The Snook is flat, but a few miles inland, it rises to a ridge of cultivated land which lies parallel to the coast. Hepburn Hill, 313m high, and Heiferlaw Hill, 157m high, stand 8.5 miles WSW and 8 miles SSW, respectively, of The Snook and are prominent. The summits of some of the Cheviots, such as Hedgehope Hill, 712m high, are visible farther inland, standing about 8 miles WSW of Hepburn Hill. The Cheviot, 813m high, stands 2 miles W of Hedgehope Hill and its summit is marked by a conspicuous cairn.

North Sunderland (55°35'N., 1°39'W.), a small town, stands 0.5 mile NW of The Snook.  The harbour, which dries, is used only by fishing vessels. It is formed by an outer pier and a breakwater. The entrance faces N and is 61m wide. Seahouses, a village, is situated at the SW side of the harbour. There are depths of 4m at HWS and 3.7m at HWN within the harbour. Vessels up to 30m in length and 2.7m draft can enter at HWS; vessels less than 30m in length can enter with drafts up to 3.7m. Local knowledge is advisable.


The Snook to Port of Tyne

Breadnell Point (55°33'N., 1°37'W.), located 2 miles SE of The Snook, is low and wedge-shaped. A small and shallow harbour is located on the SW side of the point. It is used only by small craft and has an entrance, 8m wide. A church spire, situated 0.5 mile W of the point, shows prominently above the woods; a conspicuous silo stands on the N side of the point. Beadnell Bay, entered S of the point, is foul. External coverage Beadnell.

Embleton Bay (55°30'N., 1°36'W.) is entered between Castle Point, located 3.8 miles SSE of Beadnell Point, and a group of rocks lying SSE of Newton Point, 1.3 miles NNW. It affords good shelter to small craft during offshore winds. The E and S sides of Castle Point are formed by black perpendicular pillars, which shelve down to the sea. Its N side is cliffy. The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle stand on the N side of the point and are very conspicuous.

Newton Skere (55°33'N., 1°29'W.), with a least depth of 22m, and Dicky Shad, with a least depth of 21m, lie about 1.8 miles ENE and 4.5 miles E, respectively, of Beadnell Point; the sea breaks heavily over these rocky banks during heavy gales.

Craster Skeres (55°29'N., 1°28'W.), consisting of rocky patches with a least depth of about 22m, lies 5 miles E of Castle Point. The sea breaks heavily over these patches during stormy weather. Several wrecks lie in the vicinity of these patches and may best be seen on the chart.

Cullernose Point (55°28'N., 1°35'W.) is located 1.7 miles S of Castle Point.
The coast between consists of a sloping grassy bank. Craster, a village with a tower, is situated in an opening about halfway along this bank.  A small harbour, formed by two piers, fronts the village. It is used by small craft and has a depth of 4m within it at HWS. Drying ledges lie N and S of the entrance and local knowledge is required.

See full small craft information for:

Craster Harbour and Anchorage


Boulmer, a village, is situated on the coast 2.5 miles S of Cullernose Point. A prominent clump of trees stands at the W end of the village and a flagstaff stands close S of it.
A small and shallow boat harbour fronts the village and beacons mark the passage leading through the rocks to it.

Alnmouth Bay (55°22'N., 1°34'W.) lies between Seaton Point, located 3.3 miles S of Cullernose Point, and Hauxley Point, 5.2 miles SSE. Coquet Island is located close off the S part of the bay. The village of Alnmouth stands on the N side of the mouth of the River Aln, which enters the bay 1.5 miles SW of Seaton Point.

Warkworth Harbour (Amble) lies at the mouth of the River Coquet, which enters the S side of the bay.

Seaton Point is low and rounded. It is fronted by rocky ledges which extend about 0.8 mile ESE of the point. Seaton Shad and Boulmer Stile, with depths of less than 10m, extend 0.7 mile farther S and are extensions of the above ledges; they are marked by a buoy.

Alnmouth (55°23'N., 1°37'W.) stands on the N side of the mouth of the River Aln. A church, with a conspicuous spire, stands in the centre of the village. The harbour is formed by the lower reaches of the river. It is little used except by a few fishing boats and pleasure craft. The bottom consists of stiff clay covered with sand, and there are depths of 3.5m over the bar and in the harbour at HWS, but vessels lie aground at LW.  The river is subject to freshets during the winter. Local knowledge is required as the position of the bar and width of the entrance channel are constantly changing. A conspicuous group of radar antennas stands at an elevation of 248m, 6.5 miles W of Seaton Point. A conspicuous framework radio mast stands at an elevation of 250m, about 2 miles S of the antennas. External coverage of Alnmouth

The coast between the River Aln and the River Coquet consists of sand hills which are only broken by a rocky cliff, 20m high, at the midpoint. Coquet Island (55°20'N., 1°32'W.), located 0.8 mile NE of Hauxley Point, is fringed by drying ledges which extend up to about 0.2 mile from its N side. A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 22m high, standing on the SW extremity of the island. Steel Bush and North East Bush, two shoals, lie about 0.3 mile NNE of the island and are marked by a buoy. Pan Bush, located about 0.8 mile NW of Coquet Island, is a rocky and shallow shoal which lies at the N end of a spit and is also marked by a buoy. The channel lying between Coquet Island and the mainland narrows to a width of only about 200m in the S part. It has a least depth of 1.2m, is unmarked, and requires local knowledge.

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Amble (Warkworth Harbour)

Warkworth Harbour (Amble) (55°20'N., 1°35'W.) is formed at the lower reaches of the River Coquet by two outer breakwaters and two inner jetties. The village of Warkworth stands 1.5 miles NW of the harbour and the village of Amble stands on the S side of the entrance. A castle, with a conspicuous tower, stands at Warkworth. The harbour, which is used only by fishing vessels and pleasure craft, has a depth of 1m and there are depths of 0.9 to 1.8m over the bar. The harbour entrance is 68m wide. Vessels up to 4m draft can enter at HW, but local knowledge is advised. Small vessels awaiting the tide are recommended to anchor, in a depth of 9m, sand and mud, about 0.8 mile NNE of the S breakwater head.

Caution...Coquet Island is a designated bird reserve and unauthorized access is prohibited. A dangerous wreck, with a depth of 1.7m, lies close ENE of Warkworth N breakwater head.  An outfall pipeline extends about 0.3 mile seaward from a point on the shore located close S of Warkworth South Breakwater and is marked by a lighted buoy.

Druridge Bay (55°17'N., 1°33'W.) is entered between Hauxley Point, at the S end of Alnmouth Bay, and Snab Point, 6 miles S. It has a low and sandy coast which is backed by moderately high land. Rocky ledges and detached rocks extend up to 0.6 mile seaward from Hauxley Point and are marked by a buoy. Shirlaw Pike, a hill 306m high, stands 10 miles W of Hauxley Point and can be identified by its steep N face.

Simonside Hill, 427m high, stands 5 miles SW of Shirlaw Pike and may also be seen from offshore in clear weather. A prominent cupola surmounts a large mansion, which stands in the midst of trees 0.7 mile NW of Snab point, and is visible from seaward. Northern Hill, a rocky patch with a least depth of 3m, lies about 1.4 miles SE of Hauxley Point. Cresswell Skeres, consisting of two rocky patches with a least depth of 3m, lies 1.4 miles NNE of Snab Point.

Newbiggin Point (55°11'N., 1°30'W.), located 3.3 miles SSE of Snab Point, is 12m high and fringed by rocky ledges which extend up to 0.7 mile seaward. A church, with a spire, stands close within the point and is prominent when approaching from the N or S. The River Lyne flows into the sea, 1.7 miles NNW of the point. A prominent sand hill stands on the N side of its mouth and a conspicuous chimney stands on  the S side of its mouth.

Caution...A measured distance (1,852m) lies off Newbiggin Point and may best be seen on the chart. It is marked by two pairs of conspicuous framework towers.
Vessels using this measured distance for trials should identify themselves to Cullercoats Coast Radio Station.

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Blyth Harbour (Port of Blyth)

Blyth (55°07'N., 1°30'W.)  Blyth stands on the SW side of the mouth of the River Blyth. The harbour is an artificial one, formed out of the natural course of the river.
Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5m at springs and 3.9m at neaps. The coastal currents run SE and NW across the harbour entrance. Within the harbour, the currents are of no great strength.

Depths...Limitations...The approach channel is dredged to a depth of 8.5m. Within the entrance, the fairway is dredged to a depth of 7.6m over a width of 85m as far as the Alcan Terminal.  The remainder of the harbour is dredged to a depth of 6.8m. South Harbour is dredged to a depth of 6.8m. The main berths include North Quay, 153m long, with a depth of 8.5m alongside, and West Quay, 153m long, with a depth of 7m alongside.There are also moorings for yachts.

Aspect...The harbour, formed by the river, is about 2 miles long. It is protected on the E side by a low strip of land known as Link End. The entrance, which faces SE, lies between two breakwaters. Nine conspicuous wind generators stand along the E breakwater, which extends 0.8 mile SSE from the S end of Link End. South Harbour is situated close within the entrance and a tidal basin is situated at the head of the harbour. Most berths lie along the river.

A light is shown from a prominent tower, 14m high, standing on the head of the E breakwater.  An outer fairway lighted buoy is moored 0.5 mile SE of the light. Link End is fronted by drying rocks and shoals which extend up to 0.5 mile seaward and are marked by a buoy. The approach and harbour fairways are indicated by lighted ranges which may best be seen on the chart.

Caution...A submarine power cable lies across the harbour, about 0.2 mile within the entrance.  Several dangerous wrecks lie in the approaches to the harbour and may best be seen on the chart.

A passenger ferry crosses the river in the upper harbour. During onshore winds, a considerable scend may be sent into the harbour due to the conducting effect of the breakwaters. The fairway channels are subject to shoaling and dredging operations are frequently carried out in the vicinity of the entrance.

Between Blyth and Seaton Sluice, 2 miles SSE, the coast is low and sandy, with numerous chimneys standing inland. A prominent tower stands near the coast, 0.7 mile SW of the entrance to Blyth. From Seaton Sluice to Curry Point, 1 mile SE, the coast consists of a cliff fronted by rocky ledges which extend up to 0.4 mile seaward. External coverage of Seaton Sluice

St. Mary’s Island (55°04'N., 1°27'W.) is located close NE of Curry Point and connected to it by a causeway. The island is low and fringed by shoals. The tower structure of a disused lighthouse, 37m high, stands on the island and is conspicuous.

Brown Point (55°02'N., 1°26'W.), fringed by rocky ledges, is located 2 miles SSE of Curry Point. The coast between is fronted by ledges and off-lying rocks. A conspicuous white building, 44m high, stands near the coast, 1.5 miles NW of the point and a conspicuous white dome stands 0.6 mile SSE of it. Villages, which are situated inland, are visible from seaward along this stretch of coast.

Cullercoats, a village, stands on the coastal cliffs, 0.2 mile S of Brown Point. A small boat harbour is approached through a gap in the rocky ledges; the entrance is indicated by lighted range beacons. A prominent church, with a spire, stands 0.5 mile S of Brown Point.  A conspicuous group of radio masts stands about 0.5 mile W of Cullercoats.

The coast between Brown Point and the entrance to the River Tyne, 1.4 miles SSE, is fronted by rocks. Bellhues Rocks, with a least depth of 7.4m, lie about 0.8 miles ESE of Brown Point.

Caution...An extensive spoil ground dumping area, the limits of which may best be seen on the chart, lies centreed 4 miles NE of St. Mary’s Island.


Port of Tyne (Tynemouth) (55°00'N., 1°30'W.)

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Tyne, (River) including Moorings and Marinas up to Newcastle

The River Tyne empties into the sea at Tynemouth. The river banks are heavily industrialised and are the scene of great commercial activity. The river is navigable as far as Lemington, 15 miles above the entrance.  However, depths are only maintained as far as Redheugh Bridge at Newcastle, 10 miles upriver. Both banks of the river are lined with numerous works and collieries. The Port of Tyne includes the facilities at North Shields and South Shields which lie, respectively, on the N and S sides of the river, adjacent to the mouth; Jarrow, which lies on the S side, 3.5 miles above the mouth; and Newcastle and Gateshead, which lie, respectively, on the N and S sides of the river, 8 miles above the mouth. The port is a main terminus for passenger and container traffic from northern Europe.  In addition, oil platforms and associated structures are constructed here.

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5m at springs and 3.9m at neaps at North Shields. Off the entrance, the S current begins about 4 hours before HW at Tyne and the N current about 2 hours after HW at Tyne. The spring velocity of each is in excess of 1 knot.  During the outgoing current from the river, there is frequently turbulence, especially with NE gales. In the river entrance, the incoming current begins about 5 hrs 30 minutes before HW at Tyne and the outgoing current about 40 minutes after HW at Tyne; the times at which the currents begin change irregularly as the river is ascended.

The spring velocity of the currents within the river is generally about 2.5 knots in each direction. The currents run in the direction of the channel, but set rather towards the outer banks at the bends. With heavy freshets, which discharge an immense body of water, both the duration and the velocity of the outgoing current are increased and the incoming current being correspondingly reduced.

Gales from NE cause the highest sea at the entrance when the outgoing current is running strongly.

The entrance between the piers is 366m wide. When vessels using the entrance range reach the pier heads, they must alter course to navigate the river channel. A speed limit of 6 knots is enforced within the port.

Aspect...The entrance is protected by two piers which extend seaward from the N and S banks of the river. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 23m high, standing on the head of North Pier. The entrance channel is indicated by a directional sector light which may best be seen on the chart.  It is reported (1998) that this light has a range of 19 miles at night and 5 miles by day. Tynemouth Head, close N of the root of North Pier, is a very conspicuous promontory surmounted by the ruins of a priory and a castle.
Spanish Battery, situated 0.2 mile S of Tynemouth Head, stands on a prominent cliff, 17m high. A high bank extends 0.5 mile W from this cliff and forms the NW side of the river entrance.  Collingwood Monument, standing close W of Spanish Battery, is very prominent.  A church, with a conspicuous spire, stands 0.2 mile NW of this monument.
A prominent cupola, surmounting the town hall building, is situated 0.6 mile SW of the root of South Pier. Within the river, a conspicuous gas works stands on the N bank, 1.5 miles SW of Spanish Battery. A prominent pylon, 129m high, stands near an oil terminal on the S bank, about 1.1 miles SSW of the gas works.

Port of Tyne to Sunderland


Marsden Point (54°59'N., 1°23'W.) is located 1.8 miles SSE of the entrance to the Port of Tyne. The coast between is first composed of sand hills, fronted by sands, and then is backed by a gentle hill and fronted by rocky ledges. A prominent brick elevator shaft stands on the cliffs, 0.6 mile S of the point.

Lizard Point (54°58'N., 1°22'W.) is located 1.2 miles SE of Marsden Point. The coast between is backed by a limestone bank, 15 to 18m high, and fringed by ledges and several detached rocks, the largest being 26m high. A conspicuous disused light tower (Souter), 23m high, stands close inside the point. A prominent water tower stands at an elevation of 103m on Cleadon Hill, 1.3 miles W of the point.

Souter Point (54°57'N., 1°21'W.), located 1.1 miles SSE of Lizard Point, is 6m high. It can be easily distinguished when approaching from the N or S. The coast between this point and the River Wear, 2.5 miles S, is fronted by rocky ledges and shallow shoals. A dangerous wreck, with a depth of 1.9m, lies about 1.2 miles S of Souter Point and is marked by a buoy. Mill Rock, with a depth of 11.6m, lies about 1 mile SE of the same point. A prominent disused light tower stands at Seaburn, about 1 mile N of the mouth of the River Wear.

Caution...A rifle range is situated in the vicinity of Souter Point. Its seaward safety limits are marked by lighted buoys moored 1.3 miles NE and 1.4 miles ESE of the point.
A spoil ground dumping area, which may be best seen on the chart, lies centreed 4 miles ENE of Lizard Point. An outfall pipeline, which may best be seen on the chart, extends about 0.6 mile seaward from a point on the shore located 0.8 mile SSW of Souter Point.
The diffuser at the outer end is marked by a buoy.


Sunderland (54°55'N., 1°22'W.)

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Sunderland (North Dock, Marina)

 


Sunderland stands on both banks at the mouth of the River Wear, which extends W for about 65 miles. In addition to being a commercial port it is also a base for support vessels serving the North Sea oil and gas production platforms.

Tides...Currents....Tides rise about 5.2m at springs and 4.2m at neaps. In the river, the incoming current begins about 6 hours 5 minutes before HW at Tyne and the outgoing current about 5 minutes before HW at Tyne.

Depths...Limitations....The outer harbour is protected by two breakwaters. Roker Pier, the N breakwater, curves ESE and New South Pier, the S breakwater, curves NNE.
Both are fronted by shallow rocky ledges. White Stones, a group of rocky shoals with a least depth of 2.6m, lie about 1.7 miles SSE of the harbour entrance. Hendon Rock, with a least depth of 0.9m, lies about 1.2 miles SSE of the harbour entrance.

The outer harbour entrance is 200m wide and lies between the head of Roker Pier and an obstruction, marked by a lighted buoy, lying close N of the head of New South Pier. The entrance channel within the outer harbour is dredged to a depth of 7.8m. A fairway channel, dredged to a depth of 7.6m, leads into the inner harbour and up to the W end of Corporation Pier, a deep-water berth on the S side of the river. Above this berth, the fairway channel is dredged to a depth of 5.7m as far as Wearmouth Bridge.
It is reported that the shipyards situated above this bridge are closed.

The Sunderland Railway Bridge, with a vertical clearance of 25m, spans the river about 1 mile above the entrance. The Wearmouth Bridge, situated close E of the railway bridge, and the Queen Alexandra Bridge, situated 1.2 miles above it, both have greater vertical clearances.

A swinging basin is located close W of the entrance to the inner harbour. North Dock, entered to the N of this swinging basin, is the site of a  marina. It is 256m long, 61m wide, and dredged to a depth of 2.1m.

Aspect...South Outlet, a former entrance, is situated about 0.8 mile S of the port entrance and is permanently closed. The coast on both sides of the entrance to the river is backed by a dense industrial area which contains numerous towers and chimneys. Tunstall Hills, with twin summits called Maiden Paps, rise to a height of 109m about 2.5 miles SSW of the entrance and are visible from seaward. Warden Law, a conical hill 160m high, stands 2.5 miles SSW of Maiden Paps.

A light is shown from a prominent tower, 23m high, standing on the head of Roker Pier.  Prominent landmarks on the N side of the river include a church tower standing 0.4 mile NW of the root of Roker Pier and five blocks of flats standing WSW of the harbour entrance.

Prominent landmarks on the S side of the river include eight blocks of flats standing SW of the harbour entrance; a chimney, 107m high, standing at an incinerator, 1.6 miles WSW of the harbour entrance; a chimney, 81m high, standing at a paperworks, 2 miles SSW of the harbour entrance; and a group of gasholder tanks standing 1.7 miles SSW of the harbour entrance.

In addition, a conspicuous chimney, with a pronounced collar at the top, stands about 3.5 miles SSW of the harbour entrance.

Signals...When it is dangerous to enter or leave the harbour, three red flashing lights, disposed vertically, are shown from a framework tower standing on the pilot station at Old North Pier.

Caution...Numerous wrecks, some dangerous, lie in the approaches to the harbour entrance and may be best seen on the chart.

Depths in the dredged channels are subject to change because of silting and strong winds. Depths in the wet docks are not uniform and, in some cases, may be less than that over the entrance sill. Gales from ENE and ESE send a heavy sea into the outer harbour. A spoil ground dumping area, which may be best seen on the chart, lies centreed 2 miles E of the harbour entrance. An outfall pipeline, which may best be seen on the chart, extends about 0.8 mile seaward from the vicinity of South Outlet, the former entrance.

Seaham (54°50'N., 1°19'W.) stands on the coast 5 miles S of Sunderland. The port consists of an outer harbour, protected by two curving breakwaters,and an inner wet dock, protected by short inner breakwaters.

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5.2m at springs and 4.1m at neaps.

Depths...Limitations....Louis Rocky Patch, a detached shoal with a least depth of 8.6m, lies about 0.5 mile E of the harbour entrance. Shallow ledges and banks extend seaward from the shores on the N and S sides of the outer breakwaters. North Scar, a shoal patch with a least depth of 1m, lies 0.2 mile SSE of the harbour entrance.
The outer harbour entrance, which is 85m wide, has a depth of 2.1m. The fairway channel leading to the wet dock has a least depth of 1.4m. A rocky patch, with a least depth of 1.9m, lies close E of the harbour entrance and should be passed to the S. Vessels cannot enter at LW.

A tidal basin situated on the N side of the inner harbour has depths of 5.2m at springs and 3.7m at neaps. It has an entrance, 10m wide, and is used by fishing vessels. South Dock, a wet dock, is entered through a gate, 19.8m wide, with depths over the sill of 6.7m at springs and 5.9m at neaps. It has 625m of total quayage.  Vessels up to 6,500 dwt, 120m in length, and 16m beam have been accommodated. Drafts are generally limited to 6.5m at springs and 5.5m at neaps, but depend upon the rise of tide.

Aspect...The town stands in a break in the coastal cliffs which rise to heights of 15 to 18m. A light is shown from a prominent structure, 10m high, standing on the head of the N breakwater. A conspicuous chimney stands on the coast, 0.8 mile NW of the harbour entrance. A chemical works and several blast furnaces stand along the coast on the S side of the harbour. A chimney, standing 3 miles S of the harbour, is also prominent because of its pronounced collar at the top.

Caution...During SE gales, the gates at the wet dock cannot be opened due to the scend caused in the dock. Gales from the ESE cause the heaviest seas in the approach and entry should not be attempted. Outfall pipelines, which may best be seen on the chart, extend about 0.9 mile seaward from points located on the shore 1 mile and 3.5 miles S of the harbour entrance.

Hartlepool (54°42'N., 1°11'W.)

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Hartlepool (and a few words about The River Tees)

Hartlepool is located at the NW end of Hartlepool Bay, 4 miles NNW of the entrance to the River Tees. It is administered by the Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority.
In addition to the handling of various cargo vessels, the port has facilities for the construction of structures and pipelines used in the North Sea oil and gas fields.

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5.4m at springs and 4.2m at neaps.

Aspect...The port is protected to the E by the Hartlepool Peninsula, of which The Heugh is the low and rocky E extremity. The seaward cliffs of this peninsula are being eroded and protecting walls have been constructed outside them. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 13m high, standing on The Heugh.

Rocky ledges and shoals front the peninsula and a breakwater extends 0.2 mile SSE from a point located on the shore close SSW of the light. The Stones, a group of detached rocks, lies close NE of this breakwater head.

Long Scar, a detached ledge of rock fringed by patches, is located 1.3 miles SSW of The Heugh and dries 2m. An isolated group of shoal patches, with depths of less than 4m, lies about 0.3 mile NE of the E end of Long Scar and is marked by a lighted buoy which should be passed to the N.

A conspicuous church tower stands 0.2 mile WSW of the light and a conspicuous chimney, 92m high, stands at the magnesite works, 1.5 miles NW of The Heugh.
A prominent chimney, 48m high, stands 0.8 mile NW of The Heugh and is reported to be used as a mark when approaching the entrance range.

A dredged entrance channel passes through the Outer Harbour and leads into Victoria Dock, a tidal basin. This channel is marked by lighted buoys and beacons and indicated by a directional light which may be best seen on the chart. A series of wet docks are entered through a lock situated on the W side of the tidal basin.
West Harbour, located W of the entrance channel and S of the wet docks, is entered directly from Hartlepool Bay. It is only used by small craft and yachts.


Teesport (River Tees) (54°39'N., 1°08'W.)

The River Tees discharges into the head of Tees Bay, which is about 6 miles wide between The Heugh and Redcar, and exposed to E winds. The coast on either side of the river is low and sandy. The estuary, which is entered between breakwaters, leads in a general SSW direction to the harbours upriver.

Teesport, located about 3 miles upriver, is the centre of a large petrochemical complex. Middlesbrough is located about 6 miles from the river entrance and Billingham, above which dredged depths are no longer maintained, is located about 1.5 miles farther upriver. The port is administered by the Tees and Hartlepool Port Authority.

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5.5m at springs and 4.3m at neaps. Off the entrance to the River Tees, the SE current and the NW current begin, respectively, about 3 hours before and 3 hours after HW Tees. The spring velocity in each direction is generally 1 to 1.5 knots, but has been reported to reach 2 knots. During the outgoing current from the river, especially with E or NE gales, turbulence may develop. In the river entrance, the outgoing current commences at about 40 minutes before HW. The incoming current commences about 5 hrs 20 minutes before HW. The general spring velocity in the river is 2 to 3 knots in each direction. The currents run in the direction of the channel, but set towards the outer banks at bends. During the ebb, there is often turbulence where Seaton Channel enters the river. With freshets, both the duration and the velocity of the current is increased and reduced accordingly.


Teesport to Flamborough Head


Redcar (54°37'N., 1°04'W.) stands at the E entrance point of Tees Bay. The coast in this vicinity is low and fronted by detached ledges and shoals which extend up to 1.2 miles offshore. A tower and two churches, with spires, stand in the town and are prominent from seaward.

Salt Scar, a rocky ledge which dries, fronts the shore and extends up to about 0.8 mile seaward. It is the outermost danger in this vicinity and is marked by a lighted buoy moored about 2.3 miles NE of Redcar.

Eston Nab Radio Tower stands at an elevation of 239m, 4 miles SW of Redcar, and is conspicuous from seaward. Hunt Cliff, located 4.5 miles ESE of Redcar, is an almost perpendicular cliff. It is a dark red color and stands 110m high. Warsett Hill, 164m high, stands about 0.5 mile S of this cliff and has a well-defined summit.

Captain Cook’s Monument (54°29'N., 1°05'W.) stands at an elevation of 322m, 8 miles SW of Hunt Cliff, and is very conspicuous from seaward.

Prominent marks in this vicinity include church towers standing at Marske-by-the-Sea, 2 miles SE of Redcar and at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, 3.5 miles SE of Redcar. Between Hunt Cliff and Cowbar Nab, 5.5 miles ESE, the coast is formed by mostly one continuous line of cliffs which vary from 33 to over 200m high. The most conspicuous is Redcliff, located 2 miles WNW of Cowbar Nab, which is deep red in colour and one of the boldest features along this whole coast. This stretch of coast is subject to heavy landslides.

A conspicuous radio mast stands at the top of a hill, about 0.5 mile S of Redcliff. A prominent group of chimneys stands at an elevation of 114m on a headland, about 2.4 miles W of Redcliff.

Cowbar Nab (54°34'N., 0°47'W.) is a prominent point. Old Nab, a low black cliff with a flagstaff, is located 0.5 mile E of the point. A group of conspicuous chimneys stands at Boulby, about 1 mile W of Cowbar Nab. The village of Staithes is situated close within Cowbar Nab. The small harbour, used by fishing vessels, is formed by two breakwaters.  The entrance faces NE and is 61m wide. Within the harbour, which dries, there is a depth of 4.6m at HWS. External coverage of Staithes

Runswick Bay (54°32'N., 0°44'W.), located 2.5 miles SE of Cowbar Nab, is encumbered with sunken ledges, particularly off Kettle Ness, its SE entrance point. A village stands on the W side of the bay.

Caution...Because of the irregularity of the coast between Hunt Cliff and Whitby, vessels without local knowledge are advised not to approach within depths of less than 20m. An outfall pipeline, which may best be seen on the chart, extends 1 mile NE from the shore at the E end of Redcar. A submarine cable extends seaward from the shore at the E end of Redcar and may best be seen on the chart. A disused submarine cable extends seaward from the shore in the vicinity of Marske-by-the-Sea, 2 miles SE of Redcar, and may best be seen on the chart. An outfall pipeline extends about 1.3 mile NNE from the shore at Boulby, 1 mile W of Cowbar Nab, and is marked by a lighted buoy.


Whitby (54°29'N., 0°37'W.), Captain Cook’s former home port, stands on both sides of the mouth of the River Esk, 5 miles SE of Runswick Bay. This small commercial port supports a fishing fleet and is also a yachting centre.

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Whitby Harbour

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5.4m at springs and 4.3m at neaps. In the roadstead, the tidal currents are weak, but the SE flood current and the NW ebb current run strongly across the harbour entrance. During W or SW gales, the flood current may attain rates of 3 knots in the roadstead and 5 knots in the vicinity of the fairway lighted buoy while the ebb current is negligible.

The freshets discharged by the river are often sudden and heavy and may run between the piers with a rate of up to 5 knots. In dry weather, the flow is hardly perceptible.
The tidal character of the river has been greatly curtailed by an upriver dam and the scour through the harbour is almost entirely dependent on the land floods.
 
Depths...Limitations...The harbour is protected by two outer and inner piers. Whitby Rock is located close E of the harbour entrance. The Scar, a rocky ledge, lies inshore of this rock. These dangers, which are covered with kelp, dry in places and the swell breaks heavily over them.

The approach to the harbour, which has depths of 5.5 to 13m, passes W of Whitby Rock and The Scar. The bar, a flat ledge of shale extending across the entrance, has a depth of 1.4m. The inner piers form an entrance, 49m wide. These depths are maintained by dredging.

The harbour, formed by the lower portion of the river, is divided into Lower Harbour and Upper Harbour by a passage, 21m wide, which is spanned by a swing bridge.  Lower Harbour, which dries over its greater part, has a channel leading through it from the inner piers to the Upper Harbour. This channel is 27m wide and has a depth of 1m.

The main facilities include Fish Quay, in the Lower Harbour, which is 213m long and has dredged depths up to 2.4m alongside, and Endeavour Wharf, in the Upper Harbour, which is 172m long and has depths alongside of 2.5m at LWS and 6.7m at HWS.  Vessels up to 85m in length and 14m beam have been accommodated. Vessels are generally limited to drafts of between 4.5m and 6m, depending on the tide.

Aspect...Conspicuous landmarks include a castle, with a flagstaff, standing 1.2 miles WSW of the entrance; a large hotel building standing above the cliff at the W side of the entrance; the ruins of an abbey standing above the cliff at the E side of the entrance; a framework television mast, 109m high, standing close ENE of the abbey; and the tower of a church standing close WNW of the abbey.

A prominent disused light tower, 22m high, stands on the inner head of the W pier. A fairway lighted buoy is moored about 0.7 mile N of the harbour entrance and vessels should pass close NNE of it. Leading marks and lighted range beacons indicate the approach and entrance channels.

Caution...A spoil ground area, which may best be seen on the chart, lies 1 mile NNE of the harbour entrance. No attempt to enter should be made in gales from between the N and NE as the sea breaks a long way offshore and renders the approach dangerous.

Saltwick Nab (54°29'N., 0°35'W.), 19m high, is a dark but conspicuous promontory located 0.8 mile ESE of Whitby harbour entrance. The coast between this promontory and Scarborough, 14.5 miles SSE, is cliffy and fringed by rocky ledges which extend up to about 0.3 mile offshore in places.  For the first 2.7 miles to North Cheek, the N entrance point of Robin Hood’s Bay, the coast consists of dark-colored cliffs, occasionally tinged with red. To the S of this bay the high cliffs continue, but gradually decrease in height towards Scarborough.

Whitby High Light (54°29'N., 0°34'W.) is shown from a conspicuous tower with dwellings, 13m high, standing on the N slope of Ling Hill, 1.7 miles SE of Whitby harbour entrance.

Robin Hood’s Bay (54°26'N., 0°30'W.) is entered between North Cheek and South Cheek, 2.5 miles SSE. The shore is divided between cliff and grassy banks, broken in places by deep gullies. It is backed by ground, which rises like an amphitheater, and fronted by rocky ledges extending up to 0.5 mile seaward. Ravenscar, a village, is situated near South Cheek and is conspicuous from seaward. A conspicuous radio mast stands close S of the village.

Caution...Numerous wrecks, some dangerous, lie within 3 miles of the shore along this stretch of coast and may best be seen on the chart.


Scarborough (54°17'N., 0°24'W.)  stands at the head of Scarborough Bay, 9 miles SSE of Robin Hood’s Bay and is approached between Scarborough Rock, a headland, and White Nab, a cliffy point, 1.4 miles S. It is a small commercial port, a fishing centre, and a yachting centre.

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Scarborough Harbour


Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 5.7m at springs andIn the bay, the tidal currents are barely perceptible, but off the E pier, the N current runs with some strength from 1 hour before HW to 2 hours after LW.

Depths...Limitations...The bay is fronted by rocky ledges which dry. It has depths of 9m, decreasing to 1.8m about 0.2 mile offshore. The harbour is formed by four piers which act as breakwaters and divide it into two sections, Old Harbour and East Harbour.

East Harbour, located between East Pier and Old Pier, dries and is used as a yacht haven. Vincent Pier is located close to the head of Old Pier and connected to it by a drawbridge.  The regular entrance to East Harbour is 8m wide and lies between the heads of Vincent Pier and East Pier. During winter months, a boom is placed across this entrance and access is then only possible through an entrance, 9m wide, at the site of the drawbridge.

Old Harbour, located between Old Pier and West Pier, dries and has an entrance 29m wide. The wharf on the inner side of West Pier is used by fishing vessels and the wharf and pier on the N side of the harbour are used by coasters. There are depths in the channel, which is 10m wide and leads to the berths, of 5m at springs and 3.8m at neaps. Vessels up to 2,400 dwt and 79m in length can enter with drafts up to 4.6m at HWS and up to 3.7m at HWN. Vessels using the harbours should be capable of taking the bottom at LW.

Aspect...Scarborough Rock, 85m high, is a headland which forms the N entrance point of the bay. The ruined keep of a castle stands on this headland and is one of the most striking objects along this coast. Also conspicuous from seaward is the war monument standing on Oliver Mount, 1.5 miles SSW of the headland. Prominent marks within the town include a chimney, the tower of a church, and several hotel buildings. The Grand Hotel standing at the S end of the town is conspicuous. A light is shown from a prominent tower, 15m high, standing in the harbour on Vincent Pier. The harbour is formed by four piers which act as breakwaters and divide it into two sections, Old Harbour and East Harbour.

Signals...Tidal signals are shown when there is a depth of more than 1.8m in the entrance, as follows:
1. A fixed yellow light from Vincent Pier Light.
2. Two fixed red lights from West Pier.
3. Two fixed green lights from the SW corner and the drawbridge at Vincent Pier.

When there is a depth of more than 3.7m, a black ball is displayed, by day, and a white isophase light shown, at night, from Vincent Pier Light.

Caution...Both harbour sections experience silting. Several spoil ground areas lie in the approach to the harbour and may be best seen on the chart. Several wrecks, some dangerous, lie in the approach to the harbour and may best be seen on the chart. When heavy swells are running from the N or E, vessels should not navigate close to the East Pier or Scarborough Rock. Strong winds from the NNW also send a heavy sea into the bay. Vessels should enter the harbour between half flood and first quarter ebb.

Filey Brigg (54°13'N., 0°16'W.), located 6 miles SE of Scarborough Bay, is a chain of rocky ledges which extends up to about 0.5 mile ESE from a point on the coast. A shallow shoal fronts the chain and is marked by a lighted buoy. The coast between Scarborough and this chain is cliffy and fronted in most places by foul ground extending up to 0.5 mile offshore.

Filey Bay (54°12’N., 0°15’W.) lies between Filey Brigg and King and Queen Rocks, 3.5 miles SSE. It affords shelter from the N and offshore winds, but is shallow and may only be used by small vessels. The shore of the bay is cliffy and backed by a grassy bank.

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Filey Anchorage


Filey, a small resort town, stands on the top of a bank at the NW end of the bay. A church, with a tower, stands in the N part of the town and is conspicuous. Small vessels can anchor, in a depth of 5m, clay covered with sand, about 0.7 mile E of the town. Conspicuous radio masts stand 3 miles S, 5 miles WSW, and 4.5 miles SSW of Filey.
The coast between King and Queen Rocks and Flamborough Head, 6 miles SE, consists of precipitous cliffs which are only broken at a small inlet, located 1.2 miles NW of the headland.


Caution...An area centreed about 1.2 miles NW of Flamborough Head and lying adjacent to the coast has not been surveyed. Several submarine cables extend seaward from the vicinity of Filey Bay and may be best seen on the chart. Within about 1.5 miles of the coast, the light shown from Flamborough Head is obscured up to 8 miles N by the cliffs. Numerous wrecks, some dangerous, lie up to 4 miles offshore along this stretch of coast and are best seen on the chart. A firing practice area, which may best be seen on the chart, lies centreed in position 54° 47'N, 0°45'E, about 50 miles NE of Flamborough Head. There are no restrictions on vessels transiting the area at any time


Flamborough Head to The Wash

Plan...This sector describes the E coast of England between Flamborough Head and The Wash. Included within this sector are the off-lying banks and dangers which are located in the approaches to the River Humber. The general descriptive sequence is from N to S.

General Remarks
Tides...Currents...The offshore tidal currents between Flamborough Head and Orford Ness change rapidly and begin 3 hours 15 minutes later off Winterton Ness than off Flamborough. Farther S, the rate of change decreases and eventually ceases; the currents begin 30 minutes earlier in the entrance to The Wash than off Flamborough.

The currents run in the same direction in the whole area for brief periods, but meet or separate at other times. In the S part of the area, over and between the shoals off the N coast of Norfolk, the currents are more or less rotatory counterclockwise, but when strongest, run in about the directions of the channels. The times at which the currents are weakest and strongest vary considerably with the position.

Between the banks and shoals extending NE from the NE coast of Norfolk, the tidal currents follow the directions of the coast. In the outer channels, the current is more or less rotatory and, though when strongest it follows the direction of the channels, when changing from running SE to NW it sets SW. When changing from running NW to SW it sets NE across the shoals.

The currents gradually lose strength NE from Haisborough Sand, and in the channel between Leman and Ower Banks the spring velocity is about 2 knots, decreasing to 1.5 knots outside the outer bank. When strong currents run across the shoals or inequalities of the bottom, overfalls or ripples may be formed.


Caution...In the vicinity of the off-lying banks and dangers, fleets of fishing vessels are constantly encountered and a careful lookout for them should be maintained. Caution, especially in low visibility, is also required in this offshore area because of the presence of gas production platforms and drilling rigs which often move. It should also be noted that radar responses from these rigs appear similar to those from ships.

The positions of the permanent production platforms and accompanying submarine pipelines are shown on the charts. Adjacent platforms may be connected by catwalk bridges. In the offshore areas, seismic survey vessels, rig supply vessels, and maintenance vessels with divers may be encountered. High speed craft may be encountered within the waters described in this sector. Numerous wellheads are situated in the vicinity of the offshore oil and gas fields and are shown on the chart; those which are a possible hazard to surface navigation are marked by lighted buoys.

Adjacent to the oil and gas fields, designated development areas may exist and are shown on the chart. Within these areas, various maintenance craft may be working and vessels are advised to keep outside of the limits. Incinerator vessels burning chemical waste may be observed in the offshore areas; flames and smoke may be emitted, giving the appearance of a ship on fire.

Vessels are strongly advised not to anchor or trawl near the pipelines in this area, because damaging a pipeline could create an immediate fire hazard. The natural gas in these pipelines is light, flows under high pressure, and is highly flammable. Numerous dangerous wrecks lie within the area described by this sector and are best seen on the charts.

Off-lying Dangers

Numerous production platforms, wells, and gas and oil pipelines lie in the waters off the E coast of England and may best be seen on the charts. Extreme caution is advised when navigating in the vicinity of such facilities. Some of the production platforms are equipped with racons.
The principal oil and gas fields in the area are listed below:

1.  Tyne Gas Field (54°27'N., 2°29'E.).
2.  Munro Gas Field (54°26'N., 2°18'E.).
3.  Trent Gas Field (54°18'N., 1°40'E.).
4.  Kilmar Gas Field (54°17'N., 1°20'E.).
5.  Boulton Gas Field (54°15'N., 2°09'E.).
6.  Murdoch Gas Field (54°16'N., 2°19'E.).
7.  Caister Gas Field (54°12'N., 2°27'E.).
8.  Ketch Gas Field (54°03'N., 2°29'E.).
9.  Schooner Gas Field (54°04'N., 2°05'E.).
10. Windermere Gas Field (53°50'N., 2°46'E.).
11. Ravenspurn N Gas Field (54°02'N., 1°06'E.).
12. Ravenspurn S Gas Field (54°03'N., 0°54'E.).
13. Cleeton Gas Field (54°02'N., 0°44'E.).
14. Neptune Gas Field (53°59'N., 0°47'E.).
15. Minerva Gas Field (53°57'N., 0°36'E.).
16. Rough Gas Field (53°50'N., 0°28'E.).
17. Hyde Gas Field (53°48'N., 1°43'E.).
18. Hoton Gas Field (53°48'N., 1°12'E.).
19. West Sole Gas Field (53°43'N., 1°08'E.).
20. Amethyst Gas Field (53°37'N., 0°44'E.) Dev Area.
21. Barque Gas Field (53°37'N., 1°32'E.).
22. Sole Pit Gas Field (53°34'N., 1°38'E.).
23. Ann Gas Field (53°43'N., 2°04'E.).
24. Mimas Gas Field (53°46'N., 1°42'E.).
25. Tethys Gas Field (53°39'N., 2°03'E.).
26. Wenlock Gas Field (53°35'N., 2°16'E.).
27. Saturn Gas Field (53°43'N., 1°54'E.).
28. Audrey Gas Field (53°34'N., 2°00'E.).
29. Pickerill Gas Field (53°33'N., 1°08'E.).
30. Malory Gas Field (53°33'N., 1°15'E.).
31. Galahad Gas Field (53°33'N., 1°22'E.).
32. Excalibur Gas Field (53°28'N., 1°21'E.).
33. Guinevere Gas Field (53°25'N., 1°16'E.).
34. Lancelot Gas Field (53°25'N., 1°19'E.).
35. Waveney Gas Field (53°21'N., 1°18'E.).
36. Clipper Gas Field (53°28'N., 1°44'E.).
37. Alison Gas Field (53°31'N., 2°09'E.).
38. Galleon Gas Field (53°28'N., 1°55'E.).
39. Viking Gas Field (53°27'N., 2°20'E.).
40. Cutter Gas Field (53°42'N., 2°37'E.).
41. Valiant N Gas Field (53°23'N., 2°00'E.).
42. Valiant S Gas Field (53°19'N., 2°06'E.).
43. Vanguard Gas Field (53°23'N., 2°07'E.).
44. Ganymede Gas Field (53°19'N., 2°14'E.).
45. Victor Gas Field (53°20'N., 2°22'E.).
46. Indefatigable Gas Field (53°20'N., 2°35'E.).
47. Corvette Gas Field (53°14'N., 2°37'E.).
48. Bessemer Gas Field (53°12'N., 2°29'E.).
49. Bure Gas Field (53°07'N., 2°25'E.).
50. Vulcan Gas Field (53°15'N., 2°01'E.).
51. Anglia Gas Field (53°22'N., 1°43'E.).
52. North Hewett Gas Field (53°06'N., 1°46'E.).
53. Della Gas Field (53°05'N., 1°54'E.).
54. Hewett Gas Field (53°02'N., 1°45'E.).
55. Leman Gas Field (53°05'N., 2°11'E.).
56. Camelot Gas Field (52°57'N., 2°09'E.).
57. Norpipe 37-4-A Pump Station (55°54'N., 1°36'E.).
58. Norpipe 36-22-A Pump Station (55°18'N., 0°13'E.).

Flamborough Head to the River Humber

Flamborough Head (54°07'N., 0°05'W.) is formed by a perpendicular cliff of white chalk, 37 to 40m high. It is very bold and a common landfall point for vessels passing N and S along this coast, as well as those sailing between the River Humber and the Baltic Sea.


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Flamborough Head Anchorages

A light is shown from a conspicuous tower, 27m high, standing on the headland. A prominent disused light tower stands 0.2 mile WNW of the light. Flamborough Steel, the rocky ledge extending about 0.3 mile SE of the headland, can be avoided by keeping the upper part of the light structure in sight above the cliff, or by giving the cliff a berth of 0.5 mile.

Tides...Currents...The tidal currents are stronger closer inshore than from 5 to 10 miles off Flamborough Head, but they appear to be affected by eddies. At a position 1.5 miles ENE of the headland, the currents begin nearly 2 hours earlier than the corresponding currents near the coast NW of the headland and 1 hours 30 minutes earlier than those near the coast S of the headland.

Caution...Within a distance of 8 miles N of Flamborough Head and within about 1.5 miles of the coast, Flamborough Head Light may be obscured by the cliffs. It may also be obscured within the N part of Bridlington Bay.Submarines frequently exercise in the waters lying off Flamborough Head.


Off-lying banks and dangers...Dogger Bank (54°40'N., 2°20'E.) lies mostly between the parallels of 54°05'N and 55°20'N, and the meridians of 1°10'E and 5°00'E. Southwest Patch, with depths of 13 to 18m, lies at the SW end of Dogger Bank and the sea breaks heavily over it during gales. This bank is a favorite resort of the fishermen, but should be avoided in bad weather. The brownish colour of the water in the North Sea is largely due to the stirred-up deposits of this bank which are held in suspension.

Outer Well Bank (54°10'N., 2°00'E.), with a least depth of 19m, lies near the S end of Dogger Bank. Outer Silver Pit (54°05'N., 2°10'E.), with depths of 36 to 82m, is a deep which separates Dogger Bank from a large area of shoal banks lying off the coast to the SW. The edges of this deep are often marked by tide ripples. The W end of the deep is known locally as Skate Hole; the E end is known locally as Botney Cut.

Caution...Submarine pipelines, which may best be seen on the chart, extend SW from Cleeton Gas Field (54°02'N., 0°44'E.), SW from Rough Gas Field (53°50'N., 0°28'E.), and in a W direction from Amethyst Gas Field (53°37'N., 0°44'E.). These pipelines connect the various platforms situated within the fields to a mainland terminal located at Easington (53°39'N., 0°07'E.), about 5 miles N of Spurn Head.

Numerous dangerous wrecks and submerged well heads are situated in the vicinity of Dogger Bank and may best be seen on the chart. A mine exercise area lies near the E end of Outer Silver Pit. Vessels are cautioned against anchoring or fishing in this area, due to the risk from explosives lying on the bottom. An exercise range used by aircraft is centreed on a radio tower (53°45'N., 2°34'E.), marked by a light, standing offshore, about 85 miles E of Spurn Head. Five other towers are situated in a circle, with a radius of 15 miles, around the central tower. The towers are connected by submarine power cables. The range, which may best be seen on the chart, is not used for weapons firing. A submarine exercise area, which is indicated on the chart, lies about 20 miles N of the above central aircraft range tower.

Sewerby (54°06'N., 0°09'W.), a village, is situated 3.5 miles WSW of Flamborough Head.  The coast between is composed of rocky cliffs fronted by a flat rocky foreshore.  Then to Kilnsea, 31 miles farther SSE, the coast is composed of dark clay cliffs, 6 to 24m high. Inland, the country is low and there are not many features by which one part of the coast may be distinguished from another. A prominent building stands amid the trees at Sewerby.

North Smithic (54°05'N., 0°05'W.), a shoal with a least depth of 3.2m, lies centreed about 1.3 miles S of Flamborough Head and is marked by a lighted buoy. South Smithic, a shoal with a least depth of 2.6m, lies centreed about 3.7 miles SSW of Flamborough Head and is marked by a lighted buoy. These two shoals lie in the approaches to Bridlington Bay and extend into one another.

Bridlington (54°05'N., 0°11'W.), a resort town, stands at the head of Bridlington Bay, which lies between Flamborough Head and Bromston Sands, 7.5 miles SW. The harbour, which is formed by two piers, is used only by fishing vessels and pleasure craft.

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Bridlington Harbour

Tides rise about 6.1m at springs and 4.7m at neaps. The entrance faces S and is 27m wide. A sand spit, which dries, fringes the S side of the head of the N pier. Both the harbour and the near approach dries and vessels should be capable of taking the ground at LW.  There is a depth of 4.3m alongside the inner side of the S pier at HWS.  Vessels up to 45m in length and 3.9m draft have entered the harbour. Several churches, with prominent spires, are situated in the town and a conspicuous block of apartments stands close W of the harbour. The harbour may be contacted by VHF and local fishermen will act as pilots for vessels without local knowledge. Vessels approaching from NE should pass NNW of North Smithic Lighted Buoy and vessels approaching from SE should pass WSW of South Smithic Lighted Buoy.

Caution...A spoil ground area lies centreed about 1.5 miles SE of Bridlington harbour entrance. During N gales, a heavy and steep sea may be experienced over North Smithic and well into the lee of Flamborough Head. An outfall pipeline extends 1 mile seaward from a point located on the shore about 0.6 mile SW of the Bridlington harbour entrance and is marked by a lighted buoy.

Hornsea (53°55'N., 0°10'W.), a small resort town, stands on low ground and is surrounded by trees, 10 miles S of Bridlington. A prominent church spire stands close to the cliffs at Mappleton, 2.3 miles S of Hornsea. Prominent church towers stand 1 mile apart in the villages of Ulrome and Skipsea, about 5 miles NNW of Hornsea.

Withernsea (53°44'N., 0°01'E.) is located 13 miles SSE of Hornsea. A conspicuous disused light tower, 39m high, stands close NW of the church in this village.
The high land at Dimlington, 4.5 miles SE of Withernsea, consists of a cliff of clay and pebbles, 40m high, and is a very conspicuous landmark from seaward.

Easington, with a prominent church tower and windmill, is located about 1.3 miles SSE of Dimlington. A conspicuous radio mast stands 0.7 mile W of the church tower.
Kilnsea, with a prominent church tower, is located 2 miles SSE of Easington. A tongue of land extends 3 miles S from Kilnsea to Spurn Point and forms the N entrance to the River Humber.

Caution...A target firing area, marked by lighted buoys, is situated off the coast between Hornsea and Withernsea. Several submarine gas pipelines, which may best be seen on the chart, extend seaward from a terminal (Easington) located near the shore about 2 miles N of Kilnsea.


The River Humber (Humberside)

The River Humber (Humberside) (53°33'N., 0°01'E.) is a common outlet for the numerous streams which drain the greater part of Yorkshire and the Midlands. It is formed by the junction of the River Ouse and the River Trent, which is located about 15 miles above Hull and 34 miles from the sea. Here the river is 0.5 mile wide, but, after an irregular course, it nearly triples its width as it reaches Hull. About 2 miles E of Hull, the river turns abruptly and runs SSE for 6 miles. It then bends to the E and joins the sea as a stream about 4 miles wide at high water. The Humber is confined for nearly the whole of its course between low embanked lands, from which the water has been progressively excluded. The river is entered between Spurn Head and Donna Nook, 6 miles SSE.

Both sides of the estuary are fronted by extensive flats, which in some places dry up to 2 miles from the coastline. The navigable channels are narrowed by numerous shoals and depths within the fairways are constantly changing.Above the Humber Bridge, the changes are so frequent that only local charts are published and local knowledge is essential. Ports on the River Humber include Grimsby, Immingham, Hull (Kingston upon Hull), and Goole. A tanker terminal monobuoy is moored at Tetney.

Tides...Currents...Tides at Hull rise about 7.5m at springs and 5.8m at neaps.

Both the duration and the velocity of the outgoing tidal current is increased during and after periods of heavy rain; the incoming current is correspondingly reduced. These changes are very small in the river entrance, but increase farther upriver; off Immingham, the outgoing current may continue to run up to almost 1 hour after the time at which the incoming current normally begins.

In the river entrance, the tidal currents run in the direction of the channel across Chequer Shoal, around Spurn Head, in Hawke Channel, and in Sunk Road; across Chequer Shoal, the currents are very strong and in Hawke Channel, they are subject to sudden changes of direction. The currents are generally stronger in the channels of the river than over the banks on both sides.

Between Grimsby and Immingham, the tidal currents run generally in the direction of the channel, but the incoming current on the NE side of the river sets strongly across Holme Ridge to the channel W of Foul Holme Spit.

Off Immingham, the spring velocities of the flood and ebb are about 3 knots and 5 knots, respectively; however, they may reach 4 knots and 7 knots, respectively, under exceptional circumstances.

In the river above Hull and in the lower reaches of the River Ouse and the River Trent, tidal currents normally run at velocities of 3 to 4 knots, but may exceed 6 knots at times. A bore occurs in the River Trent at equinoctial spring tides.

The quantity of fresh water increases as the river is ascended and on the surface, the outgoing current is observed to be stronger and of longer duration than the incoming current.

Depths...Limitations...In the approach to the River Humber, the depths are singular and therefore useful in making this river in thick weather. The special feature, New Sand Hole, is a narrow and deep depression which has depths of 15 to 44m within it and depths of 9 to 16m on each side.  At its NE end, this depression expands into an irregular basin with depths of 18 to 31m, sand.

With the exception of New Sand Hole, the depths off the River Humber, S of Dimlington, though somewhat irregular, nowhere exceed 23m, except in another depression which extends W from the SW end of New Sand Hole to about 2 miles S of Spurn Head;  the bottom consists of sand and stones over an hardened brown clay. The Binks and Outer Binks shoals extend up to about 4 miles E of Spurn Head. Chequer Shoal, with depths of less than 4.6m, lies SE of The Binks and forms the N side of the channel between New Sand Hole and Spurn Head.

Haile Sand Flat, on the S side of the approach to the Humber, extends about 3.8 miles NNE from Donna Nook. Depths of 1 to 4.2m lie within 0.8 mile of the N edge of this shoal.  Depths of less than 11m extend NE from Donna Nook to a position lying off the SE side of New Sand Hole.

Bull Sand shoal lies in mid-channel, 1.5 miles SW of Spurn Head. Haile Channel is located on the S side of Bull Sand and Bull Channel is located on the N side.
The Middle, an extensive shoal, lies about 4 miles WNW of Spurn Head. Both of these shoals are subject to great changes in depths and configuration.

Hawke Channel, leading to the dredged passage through Sunk Road, is located N of The Middle. The Sunk Dredged Channel is about 215m wide and maintained at or near its designed depth of 8.8m. 3.7 Grimsby Middle Channel is located to the S side of The Middle.  When navigating in this channel, vessels inbound should keep to the N side of the channel and vessels outbound should keep to the S side of the channel; all vessels should comply with the navigation aids which mark shoal patches within the fairway.

Between the W end of the Sunk Dredged Channel and Immingham, the channel fairway is indicated by a range. Above Immingham, the channel configuration is subject to frequent change and the fairways are well-marked by lighted buoys and light floats, which are moved as necessary; the least depth in the channel as far as Hull Roads was reported (1999) to be 6.2m.

Aspect...Humber Light Float (53°39'N., 0°20'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored about 9 miles NE of Spurn Head and about 2 miles N of the NE end of New Sand Hole.  Spurn Light Float (53°33.5'N., 0°14.2'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored about 4.6 miles E of Spurn Head. Outer Sand Lighted Buoy (53°36.4'N., 0°29.5'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored about 14 miles ENE of Spurn Head. South Sand Lighted Buoy (53°35.6'N., 0°25.3'E.) is moored about 12.5 miles ENE of Spurn Head and 1.8 miles SW of Outer Sand Lighted Buoy.

Spurn Head (53°35'N., 0°07'E.), the N entrance point of the river, is formed by the S extremity of a tongue of land.  A pilot and VTS control station is situated here.  A conspicuous disused light structure, 39m high, stands on the tongue, about 0.5 mile NE of the head and another old disused light structure stands on the foreshore close W of it.

See full small craft information for:

Spurn Head Anchorage (including Approaches to the River Humber)


Rough Gas Field (53°50'N., 0°28'E.), with a prominent lighted platform complex, is located about 20 miles NE of Spurn Head. Bull Sand Fort stands 1.5 miles SW of Spurn Head and is marked by two lighted buoys. Bull Light Float is moored about 0.4 mile ESE of the fort.

Haile Sand Fort, marked by a light, stands about 3.5 miles SW of Spurn Head and is surmounted by a mast, 6m high.

The Humber Bridge (53°42'N., 0°27'W.), with a main span of 1,410m, is one of the longest single span suspension bridges in the world and crosses the river about 5 miles above Hull Roads; the two conspicuous towers, 161m high, can be seen for a considerable distance. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 30m.

Numerous small havens are situated on both banks of the river and are shown on the chart; the approach channels are marked by buoys or beacons. These havens are mainly used by pleasure craft. They generally dry and have depths of 1.5m at HW.

For additional landmarks located within the estuary, see Aspect listed under the individual ports. For information concerning the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) situated off the entrance to the River Humber, see Directions

Regulations...Vessels sheltering, anchoring, or moving within the river should not transfer fuel, goods, spares, materials, or personnel between vessels without first obtaining permission from the harbourmaster via Humber VTS.

Vessels must not cross a fairway in such a manner as to cause inconvenience or danger to other vessels.  Vessels not confined to a fairway by reason of draft shall not impede other vessels confined to the fairway.

Vessels turning round shall give four short blasts on the whistle followed by one short blast if turning to starboard and two short blasts if turning to port.

Vessels are cautioned to prevent their wash causing damage to other vessels moored alongside. Such vessels should reduce their speed to less than 5 knots.
Vessels navigating against the tidal current shall on approaching bends, bridges, or fairways reduce speed or stop in order to allow vessels navigating with the current to pass clear. This rule does not apply if the former vessel is constrained or can only navigate safely within the fairway.

Directions...An IMO-adopted Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) has been established in the approaches to the River Humber where Rule 10 of 72 COLREGS applies.


This TSS is marked by lighted buoys and may best be seen on the chart.


Tetney Monobuoy (53°32'N., 0°07'E.), a tanker mooring buoy, is situated off the S shore of the entrance to the River Humber, about 2 miles S of Spurn Head. A submarine pipeline extends for about 3 miles in a SW direction from the monobuoy to the shore. When not in use, a floating hose pipe, marked by lights, may extend up to 290m from the monobuoy. Vessels up to 150,000 dwt (and up to 280,000 dwt, if only partly laden), with drafts up to 15.5m, can be accommodated Other vessels should keep a safe distance from tankers secured to the monobuoy or maneuvering in the vicinity.

Grimsby (53°35'N., 0°04'W.)

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Grimsby (Marina and Docks)

Grimsby stands on the SW shore of the River Humber, 6 miles W of Spurn Head and 14 miles below Hull. It is a large fishing and commercial port.

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 7m at springs and 5.6m at neaps. Both the flood and ebb tidal currents are reported to circulate around the tidal basin and, except at HWN, are reported to run SE across the lock entrance. Winds from the NNE cause the highest tides and those from NNW the most sea, but the swell very seldom prevents the dock gates being opened.

Depths...Limitations....The fairway has a least charted depth of 1.7m, but a charted depth of 1.2m lies close N of the centreline.

Aspect...The port is approached through Bull Channel and a fairway which is marked by light floats and lighted buoys. The harbour consists of a tidal basin and two wet dock complexes.

A conspicuous water tower stands at Cleethorpes, 1.5 miles SE of the harbour entrance.  A hydraulic tower, 94m high, stands at the entrance to Royal Dock and is also conspicuous. A large prominent factory, with three chimneys, is situated 1.3 miles W of the harbour entrance; the northernmost chimney is distinguishable by a spiral wind baffle.


Further Directions in our Hull Coverage:

Hull (Approaches and Marina)

Coverage by www.ports.org of various other Humber Area havens ports and harbours:


The River Humber to The Wash

Off-lying banks and dangers....Sole Pit (53°40'N., 1°32'E.), located about 50 miles E of the entrance of the River Humber, is a submarine valley with depths of 36 to 91m.
Barque Gas Field (53°37'N., 1°32'E.) and Sole Pit Gas Field (53°34'N., 1°38'E.) are located in the vicinity of this valley.

Well Hole (53°43'N., 1°51'E.), a narrow submarine valley, lies 11 miles ENE of Sole Pit and has depths of 37 to 80m. Coal Pit (53°30'N., 1°45'E.), another submarine valley, lies about 7 miles SE of the S end of Sole Pit and has depths of 31 to 73m. Clipper Gas Field (53°28'N., 1°44'E.) lies in the vicinity of this valley.

Silver Pit (53°30'N., 0°40'E.) is a deep submarine valley which lies directly across the approach to the River Humber and about 20 miles from the entrance.
It has depths of 32 to 98m. In the central area, the increase in depths is very rapid on both sides; in some cases from 22 to 73m within a very short distance. At the N and S ends of the valley, the transition is not so abrupt. The edge of this deep valley is usually marked by tide ripples, and in thick weather they are a very useful position guide.

Amethyst Gas Field (53°37'N., 0°43'E.) lies near the N end of Silver Pit, about 20 miles E of Spurn Head.

Indefatigable Banks (53°32'N., 2°21'E.), lying about 75 miles E of the entrance to the River Humber, are the outermost of a series of narrow, parallel banks which are located in the approach to the river. These banks consist of two narrow ridges with a least depth of 12.6m.

Swarte Bank (53°24'N., 2°10'E.), about 20 miles long, lies 5 miles SW of the SW part of Indefatigable Banks and is another narrow ridge. Patches and smaller ridges, with depths of less than 18m, lie between Indefatigable Bank and Swarte Bank and within 20 miles NW of Swarte Bank. A sand wave formation, with depths of less than 18m in places, lies about 3 miles SW of the NW end of Swarte Bank.

Broken Bank (53°21'N., 2°05'E.), Well Bank (53°16'N., 2°00'E.), and Inner Bank (53°12'N., 2°02'E.) lie to the SW, within 13 miles, and parallel to Swarte Bank. These dangers have depths of less than 10m and are entirely unmarked.  Every precaution should be taken when approaching them. Crossing these banks, especially in heavy weather, should not be attempted unless the vessel’s position is accurately known. A sand wave formation, with depths of less than 18m in places, lies midway between Well Bank and the S extremity of Broken Bank.

Ower Bank (53°11'N., 1°56'E.) lies about 1.5 miles SW of Inner Bank and runs nearly parallel to the other ridges in this area. The shallowest areas of this bank are indicated by smooth ripplings during the strength of the tidal current. In rough weather, the sea breaks over this bank. Several patches, with depths of less than 5m, lie near its SE end and a wreck, with a depth of 1.5m, lies on the SW side of the NW patch.

Caution...Numerous gas fields and submarine pipelines lie in the vicinity of Indefatigable Bank, Swarte Bank, Broken Bank, Well Bank, Inner Bank, and Ower Bank and may best be seen on the chart.

Leman Bank (53°06'N., 1°59'E.) lies about 3 miles SW of Ower Bank and runs parallel to it. This bank is about 23 miles long NW and has a least depth of 3.4m. Haddock Bank, with depths of 5 to 20m, lies close NW of the NW end of Leman Bank.

Leman Gas Field (53°04'N., 2°12'E.), an extensive platform complex, lies E of the S end of Leman Bank.

Smiths Knoll (52°53'N., 2°12'E.) is a narrow shoal ridge lying parallel with the coast between Cromer and Yarmouth, about 20 miles offshore. The E side of this shoal ridge is steepto and a least depth of 4.6m lies near the middle of the ridge, about 8.5 mile S of the SE end of Leman Bank.

Smiths Knoll Lighted Buoy (52°44'N., 2°18'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored in the vicinity of the S end of this shoal ridge.

Hewett Ridges (52°59'N., 2°00'E.) consists of two shoal banks lying W of the N part of Smiths Knoll. The N bank is steep-to on its NE side and has a least depth of 7.9m. The S bank lies 5 miles W of the middle of Smiths Knoll and has depths of 9 to 18m.  Numerous wrecks, some dangerous to navigation, lie S of Hewett Ridges and W of Smiths Knoll.

Outer Dowsing Shoal (53°27'N., 1°07'E.), with a least depth of 3.9m, lies with its NW end located 33 miles E of the entrance to the River Humber. It extends for about 13 miles SE and is marked at the N extremity and W side by lighted buoys. Vessels should avoid the area lying close NE of the shoal, especially during heavy weather, as it has irregular bottom soundings.

Cromer Knoll Shoal (53°18'N., 1°18'E.) lies about 6 miles SE of the S extremity of Outer Dowsing Shoal and has a least depth of 5.5m. Inner Cromer Knoll, with detached patches, lies 5.5 miles SE of Cromer Knoll Shoal and has a least depth of 9.2m.

Caution...Several areas, within which unexploded ordnance exists, lie in the vicinity of the above shoals and may best be seen on the chart.

Triton Knoll (53°24'N., 0°53'E.) lies about 27 miles ESE of the entrance to the River Humber and about 10 miles SSW of the N extremity of Outer Dowsing Shoal. It consists of many detached patches with a least depth of 6.1m. Tide rips indicate the position of this shoal A small group of shoals, with a least depth of 7.9m, lies within 6 miles SE of Triton Knoll and is marked by tide rips at LW.

Dudgeon Shoal (53°16'N., 0°57'E.) lies about 13 miles W of Cromer Knoll and has a least depth of 4.3m. East Dudgeon Shoals, with a least depth of 4.2m, extend 4 miles N from the SE end of Dudgeon Shoal and are marked by a lighted buoy. North Ridge, with a least depth of 5.5m, is practically an extension to the WNW of Dudgeon Shoal. The overfalls on North Ridge are very conspicuous at LW, when there is a strong tidal current running across it.

Additional shoals, with depths of less than 11m, lie up to 3.5 miles N of North Ridge.

Race Bank (53°11'N., 0°54'E.), lying 5 miles SW of Dudgeon Shoal, has a least depth of 1.8m. It is about 10 miles long and is marked at the NW and SE ends by lighted buoys.  An extension to this bank, with depths of less than 11m, connects the NE side to the W extremity of North Ridge and is marked by a lighted buoy.

The remaining off-lying shoal banks and dangers, which are located inshore of those above, are described along with the coastal features.

Caution...Numerous oil and gas fields, in addition to those mentioned, lie in the vicinity of the above shoal banks and may best be seen on the chart. Numerous dangerous wrecks lie within the vicinity of the above shoal banks and may best be seen on the chart.

Directions...The off-lying banks and dangers in the approach to the River Humber lie within 90 miles E through SE of the River Humber entrance. Between these banks and dangers are several available passages for vessels leaving or approaching the coast.

For vessels approaching from the N, the channel between Dogger Bank (54°40'N., 2°20'E.) and the coast is broad and open. For vessels proceeding to or from the E (German Bight), the channel through Outer Silver Pit (54°05'N., 2°10'E.) is wide and free from dangers with due regard being paid to the depths over the wrecks.
However, during strong NW winds, vessels are advised to proceed SW of Leman Bank (53°07'N., 1°56'E.) and then through Outer Dowsing Channel.

Outer Dowsing Channel (53°25'N., 1°00'E.) leads between Outer Dowsing Shoal and Cromer Knoll, on its E side, and Triton Knoll and East Dudgeon Shoals, on its W side.  It is about 7 miles wide and marked on the E side by lighted buoys, which are moored on the W side of Outer Dowsing Shoal.

A narrow deep-water fairway, with depths over 18m, lies within the channel, close W of Outer Dowsing Shoal. The remainder of the channel has depths of 10 to 18m, except for the small group of shoal patches, previously mentioned, which lie within 6 miles SE of Triton Knoll (53°24'N., 0°53'E.).

BID Dowsing Platform (53°34'N., 0°53'E.), equipped with a racon, stands about 4.5 miles W of the N end of Outer Dowsing Shoal; a light is shown from it. This platform marks the NW end of Outer Dowsing Channel.

Dudgeon Lighted Buoy (53°17'N., 1°16'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored close W of Cromer Knoll and marks the SE end of Outer Dowsing Channel.


Inshore routes...From a position located about 6 miles NE of the Humber Light Float (53°39'N., 0°20'E.), an inner route leads outside of Protector Overfalls and Inner Dowsing, and between Docking Shoal and Race Bank. It then leads N of Sheringham Shoals and between Leman Bank and Hewett Ridges. This route, which leads towards Cromer (52°56'N., 1°18'E.), should only be used by vessels with local knowledge.

Vessels proceeding N may pass either N or S of Sheringham Shoal (53°03'N., 1°10'E.) or Race Bank. However, the vessel’s draft, in addition to the tidal conditions, must be taken into account in the selection of these passages.

For light-draft vessels, which can pass W of Protector Overfalls, the channel towards Cromer, leading between Docking Shoal and Burnham Flats, is suitable.

The Would (52°52'N., 1°40'E.), a channel 7 miles wide lying between Haisborough Sand and the coast, leads SE from abreast Cromer to Haisborough Gat (52°48'N., 1°56'E.).

Vessels may pass between Sheringham Shoal and Blakeney Overfalls, and then between Docking Shoal and Burnham Flat. However, deep-draft vessels should proceed through the channels passing N of Docking Shoal.

Light-draft vessels bound for The Wash, after passing Cromer, may proceed, with a suitable condition of tide, along the coastal route passing N of Bridgirdle and through The Bays (52°59'N., 0°32'E.) or Sledway (53°02'N., 0°34'E.). Local knowledge is required.


Skegness (53°09'N., 0°20'E.), at the NW side of the entrance to The Wash, is situated 21 miles SSE of Donna Nook, the S entrance point of the River Humber.
The coast between is composed of sand hills. The flat, which fronts this stretch of coast, shelves gradually from the shore to a depth of over 10m, about 10 miles offshore abreast Saltfleet (53°25'N., 0°10'E.) and 5 miles offshore abreast Ingoldmells Point. Here, it merges into the shoals which form the bar at the N end of Boston Deep, on the W side of the entrance to The Wash. A narrow channel leads into Saltfleet and can be used by small vessels with drafts up to 1.5m within 3 hours of HW.

The most conspicuous landmarks along this coast include a tower, 8m high, standing on the foreshore, 2 miles SSE of Saltfleet; the extensive convalescent home building at Mablethorpe (53°20'N., 0°15'E.); and the windmill at Ingoldmells, 2.5 miles N of Skegness. In very clear weather, the tall spire of the church at Louth, 7 miles WSW of Saltfleet, may be seen from seaward. In addition, the Lincolnshire Downs may be seen in the background.

Saltfleet can be identified by the numerous trees in its vicinity and the conspicuous tower of a church, which stands about 1 mile S of the village. This church tower is the most conspicuous of several which stand along this part of the coast. Within Ingoldmells Point, two churches can be seen from seaward. Another prominent church stands about midway between the point and Skegness.


Caution...Saltfleet Overfalls, Theddlethorpe Overfalls, and Trusthorpe Overfalls, with depths of less than 10m, lie about 2 to 4 miles offshore abreast the respective places from which they take their names, S of the River Humber. These patches lie so close together that they are practically one bank.

Protector Overfalls (53°25'N., 0°25'E.), with a least depth of 3.9m, lies about 8 miles E of Saltfleet and is marked by a lighted buoy. Several detached patches, with depths of less than 11m, lie up to 4.5 miles E and 5 miles S of this shoal bank.

A firing area, marked by buoys, is situated between Donna Nook and Saltfleet and extends about 6 miles seaward. Submarine gas pipelines, which may best be seen on the chart, extend seaward from the vicinity of Theddlethorpe (53°22'N., 0°13'E.) to the offshore gas fields.


The Wash


The Wash (53°00'N., 0°20'E.) is a deep bight lying 33 miles S of the River Humber. It is, for the most part, occupied by numerous and dangerous sands, some of which skirt the coast, while others lie a considerable distance offshore. Through these sands, several rivers, which have their outlets in The Wash, find their way at LW. The rapidity of the tides in this deep bight, the low character of its shores, and the mist, which almost constantly prevails, make navigation difficult and caution necessary.
In addition, the greater part of its sea area is occupied by shoals.


The principal rivers emptying into The Wash are the Witham, Welland, Nene, and Ouse. The entrance to The Wash, between Skegness and Gore Point, is about 12 miles wide. The shores are low and marshy and protected by embankments; the only exception is in the vicinity of Hunstanton, 2 miles SW of Gore Point.

The ports of Boston, Wisbech, and King’s Lynn are situated within The Wash.

The main channel leading into The Wash lies between Inner Dowsing and Lynn Knock Shoals, on the W side, and Docking Shoal, Burnham Flats, and Burnham Ridge, on the E side.  It is about 1 mile wide at the narrowest part and leads into The Well and Lynn Deeps. In thick weather, The Well, with its depths of over 36m, can be a useful guide.

Inner Dowsing Lighted Buoy (53°20'N., 0°34'E.), equipped with a racon, is moored close NE of the N end of the Inner Dowsing Shoal.

The Well and Lynn Deeps are marked by a lighted buoy, equipped with a racon, moored about 7 miles SE of Skegness.

Vessels approaching from the E may enter the main channel from the passage which leads between Race Bank and Docking Shoal. It has depths of 13 to 18m in the fairway and a least width of 1 mile, at the NW end.

The channel between Inner Dowsing Shoal and the coast has a least depth of 7.9m, for a width of about 2 miles. Vessels using this passage should pass E of Protector Overfalls, and W of Inner Dowsing Overfalls. The latter shoal is formed by a cluster of detached patches, with a least depth of 6.1m, lying between 1 and 2 miles W of the N end of Inner Dowsing Shoal. The channel between Docking Shoal and Burnham Flats has a least depth of 5.4m in the fairway at its W entrance. Several patches of sand waves, which are liable to change their configuration, lie in this channel.

Vessels without local knowledge are advised not to use the channel which leads through Wainfleet Road, SE of Skegness, and Wainfleet Swatchway, which leads into Boston Deep. The banks in this vicinity are constantly changing and the buoys do not necessarily mark the deep-water fairway. In addition, it is not easy to identify marks ashore from this area.

Tides...Currents...The tidal currents run regularly in and out of the estuary, with a spring velocity in each direction of about 2 knots. The incoming current is usually a little stronger than the outgoing, but its duration is shorter. The currents set in the directions of the principal channels, but across the subsidiary channels on the W side of the head of the estuary, where their directions differ appreciably from those of the principal channels. In Boston Deep, the currents run with a spring velocity in each direction of about 2.5 knots. In Freeman Channel, the currents run SSW or NNE across the fairway when the banks on either side are covered. Otherwise, the currents in this channel are weak, but run their direction may be irregular.

Strong NE winds of a long duration cause an incoming current which increases both the velocity and duration of the flood tidal current in the estuary and the rivers. The winds may also increase the sea level height at the head of the estuary by up to 0.6m. Strong SW winds of a long duration have the opposite effects; however, these changes are not constant.

The tidal currents in the rivers are affected by meteorological and astronomical conditions, but little reliable information is available. Generally, the outgoing currents in the rivers begin soon after local HW. Heavy rain increases the outgoing currents and freshets have resulted in rates of 6 to 8 knots in the rivers.

Caution...When navigating in The Wash, caution should be exercised as the tidal currents are strong, the rise and fall of the tide considerable, and the weather frequently misty. Due to the frequent bottom changes occurring in the vicinity of the channels and sandbanks, the positions of the navigation aids may be altered accordingly.
Several dangerous wrecks lie close E of Lynn Knock and may best be seen on the chart.


Off-lying dangers...Inner Dowsing, lying 10 miles NE of Skegness, is a very narrow shoal ridge of sand with a least depth of 1.5m. Scott Patch, with a least depth of 5.2m, lies about 1.8 miles SE of the S end of Inner Dowsing. Both of these shoals are marked by lighted buoys at their S ends.

Docking Shoal, with a least depth of 3.6m, is centreed about 13 miles NNE of Gore Point and is marked at its N end and E side by lighted buoys. Burnham Flats extends about 10 miles NNE of Gore Point and is marked by a lighted buoy on its W side which is steepto. Depths over the shallowest parts of this shoal vary between 1.8m and awash. Woolpack is the SW part of Burnham Flats; its S edge forms the N side of the narrow passage known as Sledway. Middle Bank, which dries 1.5m, lies on the S side of this passage.

Burnham Ridge, located 8 miles N of Gore Point, lies parallel to the W edge of Burnham Flats and has a least charted depth of 2.7m. However, less water may exist over this shoal as it consists of several large sand waves which are liable to move both horizontally and vertically. An obstruction lies in the channel about 1.5 miles W of the shallowest part of Burnham Ridge.

Three detached shoal patches, with depths of 6.9, 6.8, and 8.3m, lie in the channel W of the entrance to Sledways and close NW of Middle Bank. They are formed of sand waves and are liable to change.

Lynn Knock, located 5 miles SE of Skegness, lies on the NW side of the approach to The Wash. It has a least depth of 3.6m and is marked by a lighted buoy. This shoal also consists of several sand waves which are liable to move both horizontally and vertically and change the position of their least depth. There are frequently heavy overfalls over Lynn Knock during spring tides. A dangerous wreck and a detached shoal patch, with a depth of 7.2m, lie in the channel close to the E edge of this shoal.

Lighted wind-measuring masts, 87m high, stand 6 miles E and 9.8 miles SSE of Inner Dowsing Lighted Buoy.


West coast...Skegness (53°09'N., 0°20'E.), at the NW entrance of The Wash, is a small resort town. A conspicuous water tower stands in its N part and numerous houses extend along the coast for 1.5 miles S of the town. A lighted wind-measuring mast, 50m high, stands about 2.7 miles offshore, 4.5 miles NE of Skegness.

The coast between Skegness and Gibraltar Point, a low projection 3 miles S, consists of low sand hills fringed by a flat which extends up to 0.4 mile offshore; then to New Cut at the mouth of the River Witham, 14 miles SW, the coast is marshy with an embanked outline. It is fronted by extensive flats which extend from 2 to 3 miles offshore.

Caution...Lynn Farm and Inner Dowsing Farm, two areas within which numerous wind generators are being constructed (2007), lie centreed 4 miles E and 4.5 miles NE, respectively, of Skegness.

Wainfleet Sand and Friskney Flat front the shore up to 6 miles SW of Gibraltar Point and form an extensive live bombing range. It is marked by several buoys and beacons.
The range control tower stands 4 miles SSW of Skegness and displays a red flag by day and red lights at night when the range is operational.  Vessels should avoid the range area and, in an emergency, call Boston Dock on VHF channel 12. Boston Deep (53°04'N., 0°21'E.), a passage leading to the River Witham and Boston, extends 16 miles SE from Skegness Middle (53°08'N., 0°24'E.).

It is bounded on the NW side by extensive flats, which front the coast, and Scullridge, a drying shoal lying close SE of Friskney Flat. Inner Dogs Head, Long Sand, The Ants and Bar, Roger Sands, Toft Sands, and Black Buoy Sands lie on its SE side. The fairway is marked by buoys which are very small, difficult to see, and should not be relied upon. Boston Deep is entered at its N end through Wainfleet Road and Wainfleet Swatchway, which is only 0.2 mile wide.
 
The banks along these channels are constantly changing and this passage should only be used by small vessels with local knowledge. Parlour Channel, lying between Inner Dogs Head and Long Sand, leads from The Well into Boston Deep.  However, depths within this narrow channel may be less than charted and it is generally no longer used.

Freeman Channel (52°58'N., 0°15'E.), lying between The Ants and Roger Sands, is the main route into Boston Deep and should be approached through The Well and Lynn Deeps.  It leads into the S end of Boston Deep and is about 230m wide at the narrowest part.

Gat Channel, which passes S of Roger Sand, is only used by local fishing vessels. The S end of Boston Deep leads into Lower Road, which extends SW for about 2 miles.
Lower Road then leads into New Cut, a narrow fairway, which leads up the river to Boston.

Roaring Middle Light Float (52°58'N., 0°21'E.) is moored near the N end of a narrow shoal, at the S end of Lynn Deeps. The E entrance to Freeman Channel is located 3.5 miles WSW of it.

Boston (52°58'N., 0°01'W.) stands on both banks of the River Witham in the SW part of The Wash. The port, approached through New Cut, is situated 2.5 miles above the river mouth. It consists of a wet dock and several river berths.

External coverage of Boston

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 6.8m at springs and 4.8m at neaps. The tidal currents are fairly strong. Off Boston, the flood current is reported to attain a spring velocity of about 4 knots during its first half, after which the velocity decreases. 

The tides in Boston Deep are strongly influenced by the wind. A continuance of NW gales, during springs, can cause a tidal rise of up to 0.6m higher than normal. Gales from SW can lower the height of the tide by the same amount.

Depths...Limitations...The river channel dries in places and has depths of 7.9m at HWS and 5.8m at HWN.  A power cable, with a vertical clearance of 45m, spans the river close below the entrance to the dock.

The wet dock is entered by a lock 91m long and 13.7m wide. It has depths on the sill of 7.5m at springs and 5.4m at neaps. An underkeel clearance of 1.5m is normally required.  The dock has 730m of total quayage and can handle vessels up to 95m in length, 13m beam, and 5.5m draft at HWS.

Eight river berths, which dry, are situated along both banks, upstream of the dock entrance. Generally, vessels up to 107m in length can be accommodated with drafts up to 5.5m at springs and 4.3m at neaps. As there are considerably greater depths in the channel, on exceptional tides, the harbourmaster can allow vessels with drafts up to 6.1m to reach Boston.

Aspect...The river is spanned at the town, situated close above the dock, by two fixed bridges and a sluice. The sluice barrier prevents the ingress of tidal waters into the upper portion of the river and converts the lower portion into a mere inlet which silts during dry seasons. The silt is then removed again by the first long continued flood.

Entry to the inland waterway system can be gained through a lock at Boston. The river fairway is marked by lighted beacons and indicated by lighted ranges. The town can be identified by its very conspicuous church tower, known to seamen as Boston Stump. A large grain silo stands adjacent to the wet dock.

The Fosdyke Bridge (52°52'N., 0°02'W.) is situated 3 miles above the entrance to the River Welland, at the SW corner of The Wash. It is approached through Welland Cut which leads SW from abreast New Cut.  The channel is embanked in places and marked by beacons. An overhead cable, with a vertical clearance of 24m, spans the river about 1 mile below the Fosdyke Bridge.

External coverage of Fosdyke

East coast...Gore Point (52°58'N., 0°33'E.), the SE entrance point of The Wash, is composed of small sand hills with marshland behind them. These hills continue to Hunstanton Point, 2.3 miles SW.  The E shore of The Wash is sandy and cliffy in its N part, but is marshy and embanked in its S part. However, inland the contused is elevated.

Saint Edmund’s Point (Hunstanton Point) (52°57'N., 0°30'E.), located 2.4 miles SW of Gore Point, is formed by a cliff which is composed of marl, and red and grey chalk.
It is remarkable both for the variety of its coloring and because it is the only cliff in the vicinity. A prominent disused light structure stands on the point and the town of Hunstanton is situated close S of it.

The most conspicuous landmarks along this stretch of coast are the church at Holme, standing 1 mile S of Gore Point; the disused windmill, 55m high, standing 1.8 miles S of Gore.

The Bays, a narrow, shallow, and uneven passage, lies between the shoals which front the shore in the vicinity of Gore Point and Gore Middle, Middle Bank, and Sunk Sand on its N and W sides. Another narrow passage leads between the coast and Sunk Sand. These passages are shallow and are only used by small craft with local knowledge.

King’s Lynn (52°45'N., 0°24'E.) stands 2 miles within the entrance of the River Ouse, at the S end of The Wash. The harbour consists of two wet docks and several river berths. Entry to the inland waterway system may be gained at King’s Lynn.

External coverage of  King's Lynn

Tides...Currents...Tides rise about 6.8m at springs and 5m at neaps.

Depths...Limitations...The channel through Lynn Cut is 161m wide at HW and 111m wide at LW at its outer end. It has a width of 148m at HW and 97m at LW at the inner end. There are depths of 1m in the river channel and vessels cannot enter at LW. Lynn Cut is the artificially-straightened mouth of the river and has embankments up to 3.5m high.  An overhead cable, with a vertical clearance of 46m, spans the fairway in Lynn Cut.

Aspect...The fairway in Bull Dog Channel is marked by lighted buoys and lighted beacons. The S end of the channel is bordered by drying training walls. The fairway in Lynn Cut is indicated by a lighted range.

The town stands on low, flat ground. The two towers of St. Margaret’s church, the spire of St. Nicholas church, and several tall chimneys are all prominent and visible from seaward.  The two pylons of the overhead cable, which spans Lynn Cut, and a silo, standing on the E bank of the river, are conspicuous Point; a tower standing about 1.3 miles S of Saint Edmund’s


Directions...It is reported (2003) that Bull Dog Channel, entered about 4 miles SSE of Roaring Middle Light Float (52°58'N., 0°21'E.), is the main approach channel. It leads S and SSW for 6 miles between sand banks to the entrance of Lynn Cut. A fairway then leads through Lynn Cut and up the river to the port.

There are several alternative shallow approach channels. Teetotal Channel, lying W of Bull Dog Channel, and Coke Hole Channel, lying E of Bull Dog Channel, are former entrance channels which are now only suitable for small craft with local knowledge.

Caution...The positions of the aids in the approach channels are subject to frequent change. A small ferry boat crosses the river close S of the entrance to the lock. Vessels constrained by their draft keep to the deepest water. As a result, vessels may be encountered on either side of the channel, especially when rounding bends.

Wisbech (Sutton Bridge) (52°40'N., 0°07'E.) stands on both banks of the River Nene, at the S end of The Wash. Entrance to the inland waterway system can be gained at this small port.

See full small craft information for:

Wisbech Harbour


Tides...Currents...The tidal currents are reported to be strong at springs; however, at neaps with freshets in the river, the flood current sometimes does not reach Wisbech.
Depths...Limitations...The channel through Wisbech Cut has a width of 37m. A bridge, with an opening 18m wide, is situated at Sutton Bridge. Three overhead cables, with vertical clearances of 36m, span the river between the bridge and Wisbech. Point; and the spire of the church at Snettisham, 3 miles S of Hunstanton. However, all of  these marks are often difficult to identify when the sun is shining from behind them.

Aspect...Wisbech Channel, approached through Lynn Deeps, is entered W of Roaring Middle Shoal and about 3 miles SSW of the Roaring Middle Light Float. It passes between the E edge of Old South Shoal and the W side of Outer Westmark Knock, and is tortuous and liable to frequent changes.

Wisbech Cut is entered from Wisbech Channel and leads to the river and the port. The fairway within the channelsis marked by lighted buoys and beacons.
Sutton Bridge and Wisbech are situated 3 miles and 12 miles, respectively, above the river entrance.

Caution...A firing exercise area lies close W of Wisbech Channel and is marked by beacons and buoys.


The Wash towards Cromer  

Scolt Head (52°59'N., 0°41'E.), located 5.2 miles ENE of Gore Point, is the N point on the coast between The Wash and Cromer. It is formed by a remarkable long sand hill, but is often difficult to identify when the sun is shining from behind it. The coast between Gore Point and Scolt Head consists of sand hills backed by a range of moderately wooded hills. It is broken only by several very small and shallow harbours which stand along this stretch of shore.

Distinguishable from seaward are the church, with its ruined tower, at Thornham, 1.7 miles SE of Gore Point; the church, with a slender spire, at Titchwell, 1.5 miles E of Thornham; the tower of a church among the trees at Brancaster, 0.5 mile E of Tichwell; and a lifeboat house, with a large red building close W, on the coast N of Brancaster.

External coverage of  Thornham and Brancaster Staithe

The coast between Burnham Harbour, 2.2 miles E of Scolt Head, and High Cape, 3 miles E, is lined with sand hills, 6 to 9m high and covered with coarse grass.
Brancaster Harbour, entered close W of Scolt Head, and Burnham Harbour should only be used by small craft with local knowledge as the entrance channels are constantly changing. External coverage of Burnham Overy Staithe

Wells (52°58'N., 0°51'E.), a small port, is situated 1 mile SE of High Cape. A prominent lifeboat house stands at the W entrance of the harbour and a conspicuous church stands in the town.  A fairway lighted buoy is moored 0.8 mile NNW of the entrance to the approach channel. The entrance fairway, which leads between the banks fronting the coast, is indicated by a range and is marked by buoys and beacons. Vessels should not attempt to enter without local knowledge.

See full small craft information for:

Wells-next-the Sea Harbour


The harbour, which dries, has a quay, 196m long, with depths alongside up to 3.2m at HWS and 2.1m at HWN. Coasters up to 275 nrt can be handled, but take the ground at LW.  Vessels waiting to enter can obtain anchorage, in a depth of 8m, clay, N of the entrance channel.

External coverage of Blakeney and Morston Quay

Our coverage continues from here with East Coast area pages...

East Coast (Great Yarmouth to R.Roach) 



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Warning, much of the text on this page has been adapted from material intended mainly for big ship mariners (NGA Sailing Directions). It's suitability for small craft must be left in the hands of the individual skipper. As with everything else on this site, the information is not to be used for navigation purposes, but may be useful in the passage planning stages.

The coverage of individual harbours, including approach and entry, is specifically written for yachts and motorboats.


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1 comment
Crossing the wash
Written by kenny the wig | 18th Jan 2014
i intend to take my 30 foot wide beam boat from Boston to kings lynne this easter but i am having trouble finding any information to assist me
0 of 1 people found this helpful
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