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Medway 1, Entrance, Creeks and Anchorages up to Gillingham Reach

Your Comments: 4 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


From the W. Nore Swatch R.Buoy: 51:28'.3 N 000:45'.55 E From the E. No.5 G.Buoy 51:28'.1 N 000:48'.5 E Position Approx.


Admiralty, 1834, SC5606

Rules & Regulations

A 6 knot speed limit operates west of Folly Point. Monitor VHF Ch 74 and 16


Explosive Laden Wreck in the Approach, Overfalls near Sheerness Fort on the Ebb.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Dover +0130 at Sheerness, HW Dover +0140 Chatham. Data at Sheerness..MHWS 5.8m MHWN 4.7m, MLWN 1.5m, MLWS 0.6m   (links)

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General Description

The River Medway is a historic waterway much associated with the Navy, and stretches inland from the entrance at Sheerness some 13 miles to Rochester. At this point it is bridged and masted vessels will find their progress blocked. Motor vessels and small craft can continue up the Medway to Allington lock. From here it is possible to navigate as far as Maidstone.

Huge ships use the entrance at Sheerness, Sheerness docks, the Liquid Natural Gas terminal, and the container facilities at Thamesport. These shipping facilities are all within the first few miles of the entrance.

Once clear of these, large (but not huge) shipping can still be encountered all the way up to Rochester. There is however quite a large expanse of water and it's not too much trouble to keep out of their way. ... read more


Ships approaching the River Medway tend to come up the Thames Estuary using the Princes Channel and then make their approach via the dredged and buoyed channel leading into Sheerness. There is no need for pleasure craft to use this channel as there is plenty of water on either side of it.

The entrance is landmarked by the 244m chimney of the Grain Power Station on the west side of the entrance. This is absolutely unmistakable being visible from many many miles away. At night the chimney has four red lights arranged vertically, the top ones flashing.

The eastern side is marked by Garrison Point and the Port of Sheerness. The port control office sits atop the large fort, and displays a bright light (Fl.7s) to warn of shipping movements. The light is directed to seawards if shipping is leaving the Medway, and directed inwards if shipping is approaching the Medway.

Pilotage details: ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

For the yachtsman or motorboater, entry to the Medway also leads to Queenborough. Otherwise in the section described it's out with old "cold-nose", and anchor. Possible spots are now described where you may lay afloat. For those able to take the ground opportunities abound. Or you can pass quickly through on your way to the fleshpots of Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester ! ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Update Spring 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 21st Mar 2016
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2016. There are no significant changes here but do note our members warning re the two gas holders at Gillingham.
Gillingham land mark
Written by DarkIvy | 28th Feb 2015
Please note that the second gas holder has been demolished although the chart will show two only one can be seen from the R. Medway.
Update April 2014
Written by dononshytalk | 11th Apr 2014
These notes were reviewed in April 2014 and, apart from some additional notes on the buoyage, no changes were made
Update 2013
Written by dononshytalk | 20th Mar 2013
These notes were reviewed by Don T on the 20th March 2013. No changes
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